Civil war erupts in Gaza

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Civil war erupts in Gaza

No longer can the violence be called isolated incidents. Hamas are determined to take control of Gaza from Fatah, and with hundreds of men on both sides in combat its nothing less than civil war.

The fate of the increasingly powerless Palestinian national unity government was hanging by a thread last night after another day of brutal fighting between the two main factions in Gaza brought the two-day death toll to at least 36.

Hamas said it had seized control of the northern Gaza headquarters of the large Fatah-dominated national security force. A protracted and bloody battle was fought between 200 of its gunmen, firing mortars and grenades, and up to 500 security force members holed up inside left. At least 12 were killed and 30 injured. More than two dozen jeeps carrying Fatah reinforcements to the battle failed to get through roadblocks manned by Hamas gunmen.

As the savage conflict brought Gaza yet again to the brink of civil war, a rocket-propelled grenade damaged the home of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a leader of Hamas. In the West Bank city of Ramallah, Fatah militants kidnapped a Hamas deputy minister.

Also in Ramallah, Fatah's central committee decided last night to suspend its membership of the coalition government and promised to pull out altogether if the fighting did not stop. Earlier in the day, Hamas gunmen controlling the rooftop of the European Hospital in Khan Yunis exchanged heavy fire with Fatah security forces at a nearby base.

Yesterday's and Monday's combat appears to have ignored even the minimal previous constraint. Street executions were carried out, at least one militant from each faction was hurled from the upper floors of high buildings, and fighting spilled into hospital precincts.

The UN Relief Works Agency (Unrwa) was forced yesterday to close five food distribution centres and seven of its 18 health clinics. John Ging, Gaza's operations director, said Unrwa was "extremely" concerned about the "dreadful humanitarian situation" facing the one million refugees it serves, but added: "We cannot deliver food and medical services in the crossfire."

He added: "This senseless fighting must stop and must make way for dialogue and negotiation. The civilian population of the Gaza Strip demand it and deserve it."

With masked gunmen on rooftops and at street corners, many roads in the strip were deserted as civilians took refuge from the gun battles. At one point, Fatah security forces staged a short-lived seizure of the Hamas run Al-Aqsa TV and radio stations in Gaza.
By netchicken: posted on 13-6-2007

PA officials here told The Jerusalem Post that the Hamas offensive was the biggest one by the group in the Gaza Strip thus far.

... Quote:
Hamas has declared war on Fatah and the Palestinian Authority. The rules of the game have changed and we will have to act in accordance with the new threat.
said one official.

Another PA official expressed deep concern over Hamas's success in taking control of several Palestinian security installations. He revealed that Hamas managed to lay its hands on large amounts of weapons belonging to the Fatah-controlled security forces in many parts of the Gaza Strip.

... Quote:
They have seized thousands of rifles, large amounts of ammunition and dozens of vehicles, including armored jeeps. This is really bad news for all.

Abbas told Fatah leaders during an emergency meeting in Ramallah that "political and security" leaders of Hamas were determined to take control of the Gaza Strip by force.

... Quote:
Hamas is mistaken if it thinks that it can take control of the Gaza Strip through violent means. We are witnessing the first signs of a cruel civil war.
he said.

Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior Fatah operative in the West Bank, urged Abbas to dissolve the Palestinian Authority and call early elections.

"Hamas is currently launching a coup against the Palestinian Authority and all the Palestinian factions. External parties are also involved in this scheme, because they want to kill our dream of statehood and freedom."

Hamas legislator Salah Bardaweel said his movement was determined to win the battle against Fatah.

"We have decided to fight to the end," he stressed. "We are determined to eliminate those elements in Fatah that have been killing and torturing our men."
By netchicken: posted on 13-6-2007

The Gazans are sick of the fighting between Hamas and Fatah.

It seems they are ready for the Israelis to come back and reoccupy Gaza.
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 13-6-2007

Looks like Hamas is kicking the stuffing out of Fatah.
Fatah's senior officials in Gaza are lighting out of there, even asking Israel to rescue them via the sea.

Gaza is going to be a major terror base, right at the foot of Israel.
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 14-6-2007

The palestinians make the world such an interesting place. When they can't kill outsiders they focus on killing each other.

This makes for an interesting few months coming up, it might be the first real breakthrough in israeli / palestinian relations for years. The old lines in the sand are now being rewritten.

In the media, (sorry lost the link) a west bank politician said the way forward might be to make the west bank into a functional state to better show how anarchic gaza really is.

To do this the West Bank might have to come to a peaceful agreement with Israel and work to develop the infrastructure and society in the west bank.

The west can focus its money into the west bank, and hold it back from gaza without having to justify themselves, as it will be obvious hamas cannot be trusted to be peaceful. The west bank might benefit from it all.

Now all Hamas will be confined to gaza, and better corralled, the people there will see REALLY how Hamas operate, as islamic law is enforced. This might lead to more unrest against their new overlords than under fatah, who were just incompetant greedy people.

Also much time and energy will be focused by fatah and hamas on exterminating each other and politically trying to upstage each other. Israel has an unprecedented chance to act as the 3rd man, and to work one side against the other to the benefit of themselves.

This depends on how competent and skilled Israel is at such machinations, they showed their weakeness in Lebanon, do they have the people at the top able to make the most of the situation?

This is not a disaster, it might be a breakthrough.
By netchicken: posted on 15-6-2007

Photo of Fatah prisoners just before being executed in Gaza. These pics were removed from main media outlets...

Some more of the same scene

execution.jpg - 46.87kb
By netchicken: posted on 15-6-2007

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