by David Bedein
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has promoted Mahmoud Damra to the rank of major general. Damra was identified as the commander of Fatah's praetorian guard Force 17 and responsible for the security of Abbas's predecessor, Yasser Arafat. In other words, Abbas promoted a man who commands a Palestinian terror unit to the rank of major general.
"President Mahmoud Abbas decided to promote the prisoner Mahmoud Damra, Abu Awad, commander of the President's Security Force 17, to the rank of major general," the Palestinian daily Al Quds reported.
Damra was imprisoned by Israel in 2006. He was convicted of killing several people in attacks on civilians, including Americans Esh-Kodesh Gilmore as well as Binyamin and Talia Kahane in 2000.
The United States government has been funding the training and equipping of PA security forces, including the Presidential Guard, and plans to contribute about $100 million over the next year. (See:
Meanwhile, the ruling Fatah movement of the Palestinian Authority has pledged to intensify Palestinian unrest in the West Bank. Senior Fatah officials said this would include mass demonstrations against the Israeli security wall.
"All options are on the table," Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub said on March 30.
Another Fatah Central Committee member, Mahmoud Al Alul, said the movement would also lead protests against Jewish communities in the West Bank and in the Jerusalem area. Al Alul cited the arrest of his colleague on the committee, Abbas Zaki, during a violent demonstration on March 28.
"We are aware of the fact that Israel has decided to employ cruel force to repress the popular demonstrations," Al Alul said. "They see that the
Palestinian leadership is taking an active role and that the popular struggle is heading towards major escalation. Our struggle has a price, and
we are willing to pay it."
See this report in the Philadelphia Bulletin
See this report at Israel Behind the News