Chaos In The Palestinian Authority
On Thursday April 20, the Hamas-led new Palestinian interior minister Said Siam announced the creation of a government security force led by
Jamal Abu Samhadana, leader of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC). The militant group, which is sworn to Israel's destruction, took office last month after winning a Palestinian parliamentary election in January which gave it control of the government.
This new force is expected to serve as a private Hamas army, since the PA security forces, whose members are affiliated with Fatah, refuse to cooperate with the new cabinet.
Jamal Abu Samhadana is no. 2 on Israel's most wanted list, Samhadana's group is behind countless rocket attacks on Israeli targets. The Popular Resistance Committees was also responsible for the 2003 attack on a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Gaza in which three American security guards were killed. He said, he would not abandon the fight against Israel “Factions and security services should unite in one trench against the daily Israeli aggression against our people.“
Samhadana told the Palestinian news agency Ramtan:
"The (Interior) Ministry will be investing great efforts in guiding the resistance....The Ministry will be cooperating with resistance organizations." Samhadana, appointed to oversee Palestinian security forces, said the Palestinian government did not ask him or his group to curb rocket attacks at Israeli targets. "The government made it clear to us that the decision regarding the firing or an end to the fire belongs to the resistance organizations," he said. "The military actions are related to the resistance and its circumstances and have no connection to the government."
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack denounced the move, saying it showed "the true nature and the true tactics of this particular Hamas-led government. (AP)
On Friday, April 21, Palestinian Authority president and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas had blocked Hamas’ government plans to set up a shadow security force;. As president, Abbas wields considerable power and he has the right to approve or reject key appointments. Abbas then issued an presidential decree vetoing the decision made by Hamas Interior Minister Said Siyam a day before.
Also the Palestinian Interior Ministery says no letter has been received from Abbas annulling Jamal Abu Samhadana's appointment as the ministry's director-general, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal accused Abbas of a plot against the Hamas administration. Speaking in Damascus, he said:
"What is happening in Palestine is a policy carried out by a parallel government, a counter-government which deprives us of our prerogatives and the people of their rights. It is a plot. A certain part of our people is plotting against us. They are carrying out a premeditated plan which is aimed at our undoing."
(Middle East Times)
In a sharp response, the Fatah answered.
"Meshal is inciting a Palestinian civil war.
He shouldn't interfere with what is going on in the Palestinian territories," a Fatah spokesperson was quoted as saying. "We are the ones who live here and are more aware of what the Palestinian interest is. He should let us solve our problems here in the territories without interfering." (AL Bawabawa)
On Saturday April 22, supporters of the rival Fatah and Hamas groups exchanged gunfire and hurled firebombs[/url] at each other. Dozens of Palestinian protesters were wounded in the clashes, the worst between the groups in several months; it is said that Police forces were unable to control the hours-long clashes.
Thousands of Fatah supporters, including hundreds of gunmen firing automatic rifles in the air, marched through the streets of the Jabaliya refugee camp near Gaza City, denouncing Meshal as a "dirty animal" and waving yellow Fatah flags.
In Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, 6,000 Fatah protesters turned out.
At least 20 people were wounded in the fighting in Gaza City, which involved students from two of the city's universities - al-Azhar University, which is dominated by Fatah, and the Islamic University, dominated by Hamas. Following this clashes both universities decided to halt studies for 3 days.
Abbas is seriously considering the possibility of firing Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and forming an emergency cabinet
that would govern until a date has been set for new parliamentary elections.
"The situation is very dangerous and we are on the verge of civil war," one of Abbas's aides told the Jerusalem Post. "President Abbas is now seriously considering the possibility of firing the prime minister and his cabinet. Otherwise, there will be a bloodbath on the streets."