Dahlan: Find another scapegoat
PA minister fires back at Shin Bet chief; says no real progress achieved on pullout coordination
By Ali Waked
Palestinian Authority Minister for Civilian Affairs Muhammad Dahlan responded heatedly to charges aired Tuesday morning that he was interfering with the fight against terror in Gaza.
"I am not the correct address for security issues," Dahlan told Ynet, "and I don't want to be involved in that realm."
Tuesday morning, Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin charged that the PA minister was preventing Chairman Mahmoud Abbas from cracking down on Hamas in the territories.
Dahlan said that Diskin was wrong and added he was not particularly interested in what Israelis thought of him.
"Instead of looking for excuses, it would be better if they met the requests made by Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) of Sharon and Condoleezza Rice," he said.
Do you think that the Israelis haven't helped Abbas against Hamas?
"First, security is not my job … I don't want to be a part of it because the last I was in charge of security the Israelis tripped me up. I am part of the Palestinian leadership and take part in trying to calm down the street. I want to remind you that Hamas took over an entire area in northern Gaza and dealt with the situation."
National Security Council Chairman Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland accused you of hardening your stance; the Shin Bet head says you are making it hard for Abbas. Is this a personal campaign against you?
"It doesn't interest me what the Israelis say or think about me. What interests me is to meet my responsibilities to the Palestinian nation and its interests. What interests me is if the pullout will be a positive model for Palestinians…"
Many in Israel, including finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, say that Gaza is liable to become "Hamasland" after disengagement and Israel will have to re-conquer the Strip.
"Netanyahu? Who listens to that primitive man? The Israelis should withdraw from the Strip, evacuate settlements and soldiers, and they will see a different Gaza from the one they knew, a developed prospering Gaza…those who talk about needing to conquer Gaza again want a new deployment, a reorganization of the occupation."
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and others say that liaison work between the two sides has improved in light of disengagement.
"This isn't true. There's no real or serious liaison work, and they should stop misleading the Israeli public. There's less than a month before disengagement and we have not heard back on the issues we've raised. It's not clear what will happen with the Rafah Crossing …it's not clear how the seaports and airport will be managed."
From the Israeli perspective, the crossings and airport is a touchy subject. Many in Israel believe the airport must be under tight security control.
"If they want to withdraw, why do they need control over the seaport? That's the question. I repeat – are they really interested in a total withdrawal or are they planning to continue the occupation via a new deployment and reorganization?"