Oct 10, 2005 5:41 pm


This are difficult times in Gaza. As Ben Gurion warned, terror boomerangs. Consequently, the Lebanese Daily Star editorial notes, The Palestinians have become the biggest threat to themselves. Their children are need to be weaned from a culture of martyrdom and militancy and stopped from being further exploited as drug mules.

All that in the midst of no hold bar battle over spoils which already led to the murder of Mussah Arafat.

§ Israeli assessments have pointed to both Fatah and Hamas as responsible for the murder of Gen. Musa Arafat - security advisor to PA Chairman Mahmud Abbas and former head of Military Intelligence and the National Security forces in Gaza - on September 7, 2005. However, ongoing Palestinian investigations have led some senior officials to assign responsibility to Mohammed Dahlan, the PA Minister of Civil Affairs and former head of PA Preventative Security in Gaza. § Dahlan's Preventative Security force established local racketeering networks that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly in protection money and from suppliers of gasoline and cigarettes. Dahlan was also accused of receiving kickbacks for issuing licenses and for charging illegal fees for VIP border crossings into Israel. § Beginning in 1997, taxes collected at the Karni cargo crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip were transferred to a new account controlled personally by Dahlan. Documents captured by the IDF show how Dahlan's Preventative Security force was involved in joint investments in the Gaza construction business, from cement production and gravel import to resort development. § An unprecedented competition among local Gaza warlords and crime families has broken out over control of Gaza real estate, as well as for hundreds of millions of dollars in international financial investment and aid earmarked for infrastructure development. According to Palestinian assessments, the market price of Gaza land adjacent to the evacuated Jewish settlements has risen from approximately $52,000 dollars per acre just six months ago to $300,000 per acre near the Gaza coast. § At present, all international investment activities in Gaza are subject to the ultimate control of local warlords and terror groups. The current instability in Gaza and the West Bank makes it virtually impossible for foreign investment and, to a degree, foreign aid to be managed transparently and distributed properly. The security problems in Gaza do not emanate from the Hamas-Fatah rivalry alone, but also from an internal crisis within Fatah that pits one Palestinian security organization against another.

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