Skip to comments.New Palestinian security chief known as 'collaborator hunter'
Posted on 04/26/2005 3:07:03 PM PDT by SJackson
Israel agreed to remove Abu Shabak from list of wanted terrorists as a goodwill gesture toward Abbas.
Palestinian commander responsible for a ruthless campaign against suspected "collaborators" in the Gaza Strip was promoted on Tuesday by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to overall security chief.
Colonel Rashid Abu Shabak, head of the Preventive Security Service (PSS) in the Gaza Strip for the past three years, would now also be in charge of the force's branch in the West Bank.
Abu Shabak, a former security prisoner in Israel, served for many years as deputy head of the PSS under Muhammad Dahlan. He was appointed by Yasser Arafat three years ago following Dahlan's resignation.
Earlier this year, Israel agreed to remove Abu Shabak from its list of wanted terrorists as a goodwill gesture toward Abbas. Israel had accused Abu Shabak of masterminding the attack on a schoolbus in Gush Katif in which two teachers were killed and three children seriously injured. All three children were from Kfar Darom and lost parts of their legs in the attack.
Since the beginning of the intifada in September 2000, Abu Shabak and his men have been responsible for the detention of dozens of Palestinians suspected of "collaboration" with Israel. Among many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, he is known as the "collaborator hunter." At a press conference in August 2002, Abu Shabak proudly displayed a Palestinian student who had allegedly confessed to assisting Israel in the assassination of wanted Fatah and Hamas gunmen.
Abu Shabak claimed that the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) had recruited Akram Zatma, a student from Rafah, in July 2000. He said Zatma had assisted in assassinating Jihad al-Omarayn, a senior Fatah activist. He also claimed that Zatma was responsible for the IAF bombing of an apartment in Gaza City in which Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh, his wife and 15 civilians were killed.
Sources in Gaza City said on Tuesday that Abu Shabak had been responsible for the arrest of at least 100 suspected collaborators over the past few years. They pointed out that many of the suspects were now standing trial and could face the death sentence if convicted.
The decision to expand Abu Shabak's jurisdiction to the West Bank has raised many eyebrows among senior Fatah officials. The West Bank branch of the PSS was headed for many years by Jibril Rajoub, who was dismissed by Arafat more than three years ago.
"The appointment of Abu Shabak as commander of the Preventative Security Service in the West Bank will create many problems," said a top Fatah operative in Ramallah. "I don't think many of the security members in the West Bank will accept a commander from the Gaza Strip."
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