QUESTION: On another subject. The Palestinian Authority announced that they are forbidding the use of weapons in the streets. Do you have any comment on that? Do you think it will be enough?
MR. MCCORMACK: I think it's a positive step. One of the most fundamental responsibilities of any government -- governing authority -- is to provide a safe, secure environment for its people. That's important so people can go about their daily lives, so they can do the normal things that people do around the world, you know, go to school, go shopping, you know, go to work.
QUESTION: Go to briefings.
MR. MCCORMACK: Go to press briefings.
QUESTION: But do you think it will be enough to ensure the security?
MR. MCCORMACK: Again, it's a first step. I think that the importance of this step is driven home by a recent example several days ago in which members of Hamas mishandled explosives in a open space and surrounded by people. The result was that, you know, many innocent people lost their lives. And so this is -- that, again, is a good reminder why there has to be one authority that maintains order and provides an atmosphere of calm, free from violence in any area. So it's a positive first step. The Palestinian Authority understands what its further obligations are with respect to security forces and terrorist networks.
How odd. I find no mention of the PA banning public use of weapons at their official news agency, WAFA. They do, however, cover the story of 21 women suffering miscarriages due to the Israeli air strikes.
UPDATE: According to the Billings Gazette,
Mushir al-Masrisaid the group would honor the ban on displays of weapons and parades, but ruled out surrendering weapons.
Another odd thing: If you click on this photo in thumbnail form at YahooNewsPhotos,
Masked Hamas militants brandish their weapons during a rally in Hebron. Palestinians were casting their ballots in more than 100 West Bank municipalities in the first popularity test for the radical Hamas movement since Israel's historic pullout from the Gaza Strip(AFP/Hazem Bader) AFP - Sep 29 1:11 AM
... you get this enlarged version:
Search YahooNewsPhotos for [Hamas + Hebron], and you'll see the same thumbnail several times, but when you click on any instance of it, you get some other shot. It's really weird.
And they all say "Sep. 25" whereas the one I first picked up was dated yesterday. Weirder and weirder.
You don't think the media's trying to cover up Hamas brandishing their weapons after the ban, do you?
For a clue, see Solomonia, July 21, 2004:
...Palestinian sources said Tuesday that allies of Mousa Arafat, named this past weekend to head most of the security groups in Gaza, convened the Palestinian press in Gaza and ordered them not to report on marches and other activities by Mousa Arafat's opponents, particularly supporters of his main opponent Mohammed Dahlan..