The Palestinians have stepped up their fighting.
GAZA (Reuters) - Gunbattles raged between Hamas loyalists and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's forces in Gaza City on Tuesday, killing at least three people and reviving fears the strip could slip into civil war.Fears of civil war? There is no need for fear. The civil war is on.
Hospital officials said the bodies of two security men loyal to Abbas's Fatah had also been dumped in a street.Such a charming people.
Fatah sources said the men were abducted hours earlier by a Hamas-led police unit and "executed." A Hamas police spokesman denied the force had abducted or killed anyone.
Internal Palestinian fighting, the worst in a decade, has escalated since Abbas called for early elections on Saturday in an attempt to break a political deadlock with the Hamas government. Hamas has accused Abbas of launching a "coup."
Both Hamas and Fatah blamed each other for the sudden surge in street fighting in central Gaza City, where gunmen fought running battles with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.
Civilians fled for their safety and some shops closed. In between bouts of fighting, masked gunmen roamed the streets.
Update: 19 Dec'06 1934z
Hamas is at it again:
Several Fatah members were kidnapped by Hamas operatives on Tuesday afternoon in the northern Gaza Strip, particularly in the area of the Jebalya refugee camp, Palestinian sources reported.Coincidently Palestinian Prime Minister Haniyeh has a word on the on the subject:
Eyewitnesses said that the abductees numbered between three and five.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday called for an end to Palestinian in-fighting and urged warring factions to unite in the struggle against Israel.I'm sure he believes it too. Or acts like he does on television.
"This nation, this people will be united in front of the occupation and aggression and will not be engaged, despite the wounds of the past few days, in internal fighting," Haniyeh said in a televised speech.
Update: 19 Dec'06 2058z
Well what do you know. Another cease fire appears to be in the offing.
GAZA (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said a deal was reached between hisSo that means the cease fire is now in effect. I'm betting that it will last less than 12 hours.
Fatah faction and Hamas to halt fierce clashes in the
Gaza Strip in which six fighters were killed on Tuesday.
"We bless and support this agreement. After one hour, it will take effect," Abbas told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "We hope all will abide by this agreement."
Hamas and Fatah security chiefs earlier appeared side by side in Gaza City to declare that Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas had agreed to withdraw their forces from the streets starting at 11 p.m. (2100 GMT).
A previous ceasefire deal broke down within 24 hours and it was unclear whether this one would hold.
Tuesday's death toll was the highest since internal fighting intensified over the weekend. Four of the six were killed in street battles. The bodies of two of Abbas's surity men were found dead hours after their abduction, hospital officials said.
The Jerusalem Post has more.
Six Palestinians were killed and dozens injured as the cease-fire between Hamas and Fatah in the Gaza Strip collapsed Tuesday, less than 48 hours after it went into effect.Since neither of these fellows controls the "armed wing" I'm pretty sure they will be back at it very soon.
Another cease-fire agreement was announced late Tuesday, this time under the auspices of Egyptian mediators. According to the new deal, Hamas and Fatah agreed to withdraw all their gunmen from the streets and to release all those who were kidnapped from both sides. The new cease-fire is to take effect at 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas called off a planned visit to the Gaza Strip because of the renewed clashes, his aides told The Jerusalem Post. Both Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas called on the warring parties to halt the fighting immediately.
Update: 20 Dec'06 0158z
Palestinians fear their nice little homeland is becoming like Iraq. I can see the parallels. Iraqis and Palestinians are doing it to themselves.
...Abu Sa'deh expressed fear that the "mini-war" between Fatah and Hamas would deteriorate into an all-out confrontation. "The fighting in the streets reminds us of the civil war in Lebanon during the '70s and '80s," he said in a telephone interview.A man who understands his own people and is willing to talk. How rare.
"Many people are wondering why the Palestinians create trouble wherever they go. In Jordan, the PLO almost sparked civil war in the early '70s. Then they went to Lebanon and triggered civil war."
"These people have no respect for holy sites or hospitals," said Ashraf Udwan, who lives in an apartment near the scene of the clashes. "This is a real tragedy for the Palestinians. The reputation of the Palestinian people has been severely harmed in the eyes of the world. How will we ever be able to ask the world to support our just cause when we are killing each other mercilessly?"I guess killing Jew was just a warm up for killing each other. Cute.
"Nothing justifies this ruthless war," said bookstore owner Khaled Shaker. "Most people here are disappointed with Hamas and Fatah. This war plays into the hands of Israel, whose leaders must be laughing at us now. We demand an end to the fighting before Palestine becomes a second Iraq."i.e. just another Arab nation. Held together or blown apart by vicious armed force.