Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah dissolved the National Security Council on Monday, then reconstituted it without Hamas representation in a further bid to weaken the group.
The council was formed as part of the governing alliance Hamas and Fatah established in March, in a bid to restore law and order in the chaotic Palestinian areas. Former prime minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, deposed by Abbas last week, was appointed deputy council chairman under the PA chairman.
But disputes over control of the powerful security forces were never resolved, and the council never met. Last week, the internal strife between Hamas and Fatah degenerated into civil war, and Hamas took over the Gaza Strip.
Abbas appointed himself chairman of the new council he named on Monday. Other members are Salaam Fayad, the prime minister in the new government Abbas installed on Sunday; Interior Minister Abdel Razak Yehiyeh of Fatah; and Fatah's Gaza strongman, Muhammad Dahlan.