But I certainly can’t figure out what. This Washington Post account of a clash on the West Bank illustrates the murkiness of Mahmoud Abbas’ effort to maintain some kind of control there:
Palestinian gunmen opened fire at a police station on Friday, sparking a firefight in the center of the West Bank’s largest city. Witnesses in Nablus said at least six gunmen took up positions outside the police station and began shooting, prompting police to return fire. The witnesses said the gunmen were affiliated with Abbas’ ruling Fatah movement.
Got that? If this account is right, does it mean that the putative leader of the Palestinian Authority is sending out armed men to attack police stations? What really struck me, though, were these concluding paragraphs on another violent episode:
Earlier this week, tensions between the Palestinian Authority and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a militant group linked with Fatah, erupted into a confrontation in the nearby town of Jenin.
The incident came as Palestinian interior minister was visiting Jenin. A popular local gunman, irate that the minister had come to the town without his permission, opened fire on a building where he was holding meetings.
Yousef ordered the arrest of Zakariye Zubeydi, a militant who is seen by residents as the ruler of Jenin, but quickly backed down.
Contemplate that phrase for a moment: “a popular local gunman.” Notwithstanding any progress that may have been made, the Palestinians have a long, long way to go.
UPDATE: The Post has quietly changed its article, deleting, among other things, the “popular local gunman.”