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      PA Officers: We´ll Only Target Israel

      In a letter sent this week to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), official PA militia officers declare that, even as internal security collapses, they will only point their guns at Israel.
      By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz & Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 11/12/2005, 9:38 PM / Last Update: 11/11/2005, 11:09 AM

      In the letter, revealed by UPI, the officers warn that the Palestinian Authority (PA) security apparatus is on the verge of collapse due to widespread corruption and the ongoing state of anarchy that exists in autonomous areas.

      The authors of the letter to Abu Mazen state that they reject ongoing US and Israeli pressure demanding the disarming of PA terrorist organizations. Instead, the militia officers declared, their weapons will only be pointed at Israel and at Israel's Arab agents fighting terrorism in the PA.

      Under the shadow of this warning, the PA is preparing for local elections, which will include the Islamist Hamas terrorist group. The Hamas is widely seen among the PA Arabs as representing a turn away from official corruption and neglect. Growing unrest among PA Arabs was reflected in the results of a new poll by the Palestinian Center of Public Opinion, which showed a 20 percent drop in the number supporting a halt to violence against Israel.

      While the PA officers' letter confirms situation analysis reports from Israeli army intelligence, Chief of Army Intelligence Major-General Aaron Ze'evi-Farkash told cabinet ministers last month that Abu Mazen can take control of the situation if he so chooses. However, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon contended in a lecture to the Washington Institute for Near East Peace this week that Abbas has decided to exhibit a weak profile, seeking to use this to his advantage in negotiations with Israel.

      Meanwhile, sniper fire, Molotov cocktail attacks and stone throwings, reminiscent of the breakout of the Intifada in the late 1980s, have become more widespread in the past several weeks. IDF soldiers found two weapons and bullet shells Thursday night on the road to Ma'aleh Michmash after terrorists shot at an Israeli vehicle. No one was injured in that attack.

      In Bethlehem, the PA claimed it had arrested five Al-Aqsa Marytrs Brigades terrorists, affiliated with the ruling Fatah movement, involved in the murder of three young Israelis hitchhiking on the Jerusalem-Gush Etzion road last month. There was no confirmation of the arrests from Israeli sources.