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Apr 09,2007
Abbas seeks to undercut Hezbollah
by UPI

GAZA - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is laying the groundwork to cut Fatah's reliance on Hezbollah, a report says.

Abbas recently named a special group to gather the names of members of Fatah's military branch, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, to determine what can be done to wean them away from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah organization.

Palestinian sources say Abbas views the plan as key to attempts to expand the cease-fire with Israel to the West Bank, YNet News said Sunday.

"The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades have always been the weakest link in every truce," one source told YNet News. "The financial dependence of several of the wanted men on Hezbollah caused the al-Aqsa members not to obey all agreements."

Abbas also has to deal with the Islamic Jihad's military wing. He is counting on Arab pressures, mainly on Syria, to get the Islamic Jihad to honor the truce.

Abbas also is depending on Israel to strengthen the truce.

"The Israelis are aware of the fact that whatever we do, one activist can always cause the entire thing to fail," an Abbas associate said. "But if they are really interested in helping us maintain the truce and expand it, they can do it."

Copyright ©  2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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