Monday, October 03, 2005

Today's Palestinian Police Phunnies

Ah, law and order and stern warnings.
More than three dozen Palestinian police officers broke into the parliament building in Gaza City on Monday, firing in the air to protest a lack of bullets and equipment in what they said was a humiliating confrontation with Hamas.

The protest came a day after the worst internal fighting in Gaza in nearly a decade and underscored Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' difficulties in taking control of the unruly coastal strip.

On Sunday, Hamas gunmen attacked a local police station with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. The deputy police chief of the Shati refugee camp was killed in the fighting, along with two civilians, and at least 50 people were wounded.

During the parliament session, about 40 police officers broke into the parliament building in Gaza City. 'Give us at least bullets to protect people and to protect our stations,' said one of the officers, a lieutenant, who declined to give his name because he is not authorized to talk to the press. 'Our commander died in front of us, and we were running out of bullets.'

The clashes raged for about six hours, and subsided only around midnight Sunday, after Egyptian mediators stepped in.

Abbas said Monday that his security forces would not gloss over the confrontations. 'We will not remain silent in the face of this,' he told reporters at his Gaza City office. 'This mob behavior, this chaos must end.'

The authority, he said, is 'ready to use all means to prevent the public display of arms,' which it banned several days ago."

Abbas: Arafat without the cult of personality.