Dahlan warns against IDF incursion

Abbas and Haniyeh discuss security reform, Schalit and BBC journalist.

dahlan tough 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
dahlan tough 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Palestinian Authority National Security Advisor Muhammad Dahlan on Thursday warned Israel against conducting a large-scale offensive in the Gaza Strip, saying that no good would come of such a move. Dahlan told Palestinian media that the PA was aware of the possibility that the Israeli government would act in order to save itself from what he called an internal breakdown. According to Dahlan, Israel was not ready to settle the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, although the solution to doing so was in Israel's hands. Also Thursday, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh began tackling the PA unity government's most explosive issue Thursday - reform of the bloated and disjointed security services. It was only the second meeting between the two men since Hamas and Fatah formed a coalition last month. Dahlan, who led Fatah's charge against Hamas during months of factional fighting, is now being asked to come up with a reform plan. "The security establishment needs major surgery," Dahlan said in an interview with Palestine TV on Wednesday. "People are more loyal to their families than to the establishment of the homeland." However, Dahlan aides said he has not yet delivered a detailed plan to Abbas. Dahlan's moves are generally viewed with suspicion by Hamas. He suggested in the interview that he would not impose his views or try to sideline the interior minister, an independent picked by Hamas. Most of the 85,000 members of the security services are loyal to Fatah. However, during the year it ruled alone, Hamas established a 5,600-strong militia, the so-called Executive Force. In the months preceding the power-sharing agreement between Hamas and Fatah, rival forces frequently fought in the streets of Gaza. In forming the coalition, Hamas and Fatah had put off a decision on what to do about the Executive Force. Hamas has resisted Fatah's demand to dissolve the militia. Other items on the Haniyeh-Abbas agenda included the fate of Cpl. Gilad Schalit, kidnapped by Hamas 10 months ago. Foreign leaders have told Abbas that the release of Schalit is a necessary first step in the government's quest for international recognition. Hamas wants Schalit freed in exchange for hundreds of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, but Egyptian-brokered negotiations with Israel on a swap have been stuck for months. Also, Abbas and Haniyeh were to meet separately with British diplomats pushing for the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston, who was kidnapped in Gaza City on March 12. There has been no word on Johnston since and no claim of responsibility by any group. He is now the longest-held reporter in captivity in Gaza, a fact that has prompted concerns about his fate.