Palestinian Mayor Resigns in Protest

The Palestinian mayor of Nablus (search) has resigned, citing frustrations over rising lawlessness in the West Bank's largest city.

Mayor Ghassan Shakaa (search) told The Associated Press he has submitted his resignation to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to protest inaction by Palestinian leaders and security forces to stop the chaos.

The Palestinians' police forces have been weakened during more than three years of fighting with Israel. With no real authority on the streets, gangs and rival clans wage deadly gunbattles, while militants have kidnapped and beaten government officials.

"I have submitted my resignation to President Arafat because I see my city collapsing and I don't want to stand idly by and watch this collapse," Shakaa said. "My resignation is a warning bell to the Palestinian Authority and the residents of Nablus, because both of them are doing nothing for this city."

In November, Palestinian gunmen killed Shakaa's brother. The mayor, who had been locked in a power struggle with armed gangs, named suspects, but security forces still have not arrested them.

The mayor said Friday that was not the reason he stepped down.

Still, he said, the security forces under the control of Arafat's Palestinian Authority (search) could do more to restore order.

The Palestinian Authority holds Israel responsible for the growing anarchy, saying military campaigns have weakened the Palestinian security forces.

"I don't deny the role of the (Israeli) occupation in destroying the city through the frequent invasions, but we as an authority and as citizens are doing nothing to protect the city," Shakaa said.

Shakaa said he would stay on until May 1 to finish several development projects, including the construction of a shopping mall.