The Palestinian government has ordered its security forces to prevent attacks against Israel. It has also ordered an investigation into a shooting at a Gaza crossing that killed six Israeli civilians last week. The announcement comes after a delegation of left wing Israeli politicians visited new president Mahmoud Abbas and his cabinet. Abbas is under growing pressure to deal with militants, after the Israeli Prime Minister froze official contact with the new government.
Israeli Knesset member Yossi Beilin was part of today’s delegation visiting Ramallah. He said: “I think that what we have to do, if we believe in peace, if we believe that we have to put an end to terrorism and violence is just to talk to each other and not to talk against each other, or to boycott each other. The decision of Mr Sharon was not the right decision.”The Israeli Prime Minister said there would be no talking with Abbas until he made an effort to clamp down on armed groups. In a further development today, Abbas decided to integrate the high-profile militant group, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, into his security services. The group is the armed wing of Abbas’s Fatah movement, which has been behind many suicide bombings and attacks. Co-opting instead of confrontation seems to be Abbas’s preferred way of dealing with the armed groups.