In late spring and early summer 2004, Sharon's disengagement plan moved forward as the security situation particularly in Gaza steadily declined and Arafat ignored Palestinian and international calls to consolidate the Palestinian security services and reassert control over the territories. In light of the deterioration and growing uncertainty, the Palestinian Council (PC) formed on 7 July a special committee (comprising Arafat loyalists and ““reformers””) to study the political and security situation in the occupied territories and draft a report assessing current conditions, how they got that way, and how they could be improved. Between 12 and 18 July, the committee interviewed dozens of Palestinian officials and citizens in the West Bank and Gaza, including Prime Minister Ahmad Qurai‘‘. The committee issued its eighteen-page report around 19 July, during a sharp upswing in intra-Palestinian violence that prompted Qurai‘‘'s resignation on 17 July. The PC endorsed the report's recommendations after a heated debate on 21 July. The report, which was not made public, was leaked to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Foreign Broadcast Information Service, which translated and published it through its online service, World News Connection, on 27 July.

Reproduced below are the committee's observations and recommendations and selections from the long appendix summarizing the committee's hearings with Palestinian figures. The excerpts were selected to reflect the opinions of the main groups interviewed: citizens and key public figures, representatives of the national and Islamist factions, members of NGOs and the press, officials in the security forces, and PM Qurai‘‘ as an official voice of the PA.

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