Chaos in Gaza....
Abbas needs to get his house in order...before there can be any more movement on the peace front.
Mahmoud Abbas was preparing to travel to the former settlement of Neveh Dekalim on Wednesday to participate in celebrations marking the Israeli withdrawal when one of his aides advised him to cancel the trip. The excuse he gave was that there were too many militiamen among the crowd that had gathered at the area and it would be difficult to control them.
Abbas did not hesitate to accept the advice, preferring to stay in his Gaza City office for meetings with security chiefs and foreign dignitaries, including a top Chinese diplomat. One of his top aides, Tayeb Abdel Rahim, was dispatched to the rally to deliver a speech on behalf of the Palestinian leader.
Although the event was organized by the Palestinian Authority, many of the participants included gunmen from rival groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as well as unruly Fatah activists belonging to various local gangs.
Abbas later found out that he had made a wise decision by deciding to stay away. The rally ended in chaotic scenes, as a Hamas activist grabbed the microphone from a rap singer, prompting nervous Palestinian policemen to fire into the air.
"This is not the time for such songs!" the Hamas member shouted. "We still haven't liberated all of our land."
A police officer at the scene said he and his colleagues were relieved that Abbas didn't show up. "Imagine what would have happened if he had been standing on the stage," he said. "I'm sure many of the gunmen would have stormed the area and disrupted his speech. It would have been very difficult to protect him."
Earlier in the week, Abbas made a brief visit to Neveh Dekalim, but his convoy was forced to pass through dirt roads, because thousands of frenzied militiamen and children had blocked the major roads in what was known as Gush Katif.