Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Palestinian Civil War Watch - 7

After over a week of relative quiet the Palestinians are at it again.

GAZA (Reuters) - Unknown gunmen killed a member of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction in Gaza on Wednesday and a car carrying Hamas security officers was ambushed, as simmering internal tensions threatened to erupt.

A gunbattle between militants loyal to Fatah and the ruling Hamas movement broke out in the Jabalya refugee camp soon after the two incidents in northern Gaza, witnesses said. It was unclear if anyone was hurt.

Fatah and Hamas declared a truce in December to end weeks of deadly violence which escalated into running street battles in Gaza after Abbas called for early parliamentary and presidential elections to break a political deadlock with Hamas.

Hamas condemned Abbas's move as a coup to oust it less than a year after it surprised Fatah to win a parliamentary ballot.

Fatah sources blamed Hamas militants for the shooting of the Fatah militant. Residents said he was on a rooftop in the town of Beit Lahiya with other Fatah gunmen when he was shot.

Hamas officials were not immediately available to comment but blamed Fatah for opening fire on a vehicle carrying members of a Hamas-led police force in the area.
I guess the Palestinian national unity government will have to be delayed a while longer.

Meanwhile Palestinian Preventive Security wants all foreigners to leave Gaza. Presumably so the real civil war can begin without outside observers.
Gaza City, 3 January - The Palestinian Preventive Security, headed by Mohammed Dahlan, ordered foreign nationals to leave the Gaza Strip because of an alleged threat of further abductions, following the kidnapping on Monday of a Peruvian press photographer, Jaime Razuri. Razuri, who worked for Agence France Press, has not yet been released.

The order to evacute foreigners from Gaza would affect mostly and most hardly expatriate employees of UNRWA, the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees. Christian Nordahl, deputy director of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip confirmed having received an "advice" by the Preventive Security forces about a general kidnapping threat, but UNRWA spokesman Johan Eriksson declared that "in our view, this doesn't change the situation from what it has been in the past two years ... at the moment we are staying put."
If the UNWRA was not distributing food. Some one would have to take that function over. Evidently Fatah (Mohammed Dahlan) thinks it has the upper hand for such an eventuality. The end result would be the use of food as a weapon. Support Fatah and eat. Support Hamas and look for another source of supply.

Update: 03 Jan'07 2125z

Kidnappings followed by violence.
At least three elite Hamas operatives were wounded in violent clashes with Fatah operatives in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday afternoon, Israel Radio reported.

According to Palestinian sources, Hamas kidnapped two members of the PA Preventative Security forces.

Hamas, however, denied the kidnappings.
So, in the spirit of the cycle of violence Fatah retaliates.
Masked gunmen shot at the Palestinian Authority Religious Ministry building in the West Bank town of Tulkarm on Wednesday afternoon.

No one was wounded in the incident which was assumed to be perpetrated by Fatah operatives seeking vengeance for the casualties inflicted on its members in Gaza earlier in the day.
Three Fatah operatives killed.
Tensions are not expected to subside anytime soon in the Palestinian Authority as a particularly bloody day of infighting comes to an end in Gaza.

On Wednesday the Fatah movement declared a state of high alert amongst its ranks in Gaza, calling for them to adjust their deployment following the deaths of three officers from the Fatah-affiliated Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PPSS) and an additional Fatah loyalist in clashes earlier in the day.

Members were called to "be prepared and defend themselves by any means in the face of attack."

Fatah has accused Hamas of instigating the violence and for the wave of kidnappings that plagued Gaza on Tuesday, when no less than 23 people were abducted by both organizations.

A woman who was uninvolved in the fighting was also killed today after she was caught in the crossfire between Hamas and Fatah gunmen in Jabaliya.

While the focus of the clashes remains in northern Gaza, representatives from Hamas and Fatah in southern Gaza struck an agreement to end the violence late Wednesday evening. It remains unclear if this agreement will bring to the fighting to an end.
I'm betting the violence will escalate.
Later in the evening Palestinian sources reported that senior Fatah military wing leader Hassan al-Qasas, member narrowly escaped an assassination attempt after gunmen fired an RPG towards him and another senior group member. Fatah has blamed Hamas for the attack.

Ahmad Sarur, a resident of Beit Lahiya, told Ynet on Wednesday that the situation in northern Gaza is "very frightening." Sarur says that masked gunmen are positioned at every junction and along every route. According to Sarur the gunmen interrogate people on the street and search them.

"Everywhere you go there are masked Hamas fighters," he described his surroundings, "Fatah is nowhere to be seen in the streets, Hamas has taken control of things here."

Sarur said that residents are embittered about the situation and that there seems to be no solution to the crisis.
Update: 04 Jan '07 1720z

A total of five people were killed in Gaza Wednesday.
GAZA (Reuters) - Clashes erupted between forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Hamas government in Gaza on Wednesday, killing five people in the worst fighting since the rivals agreed a fragile truce two weeks ago.

At least nine people were wounded in separate incidents across the Gaza Strip, hospital officials said.

Abbas's Fatah faction and Hamas declared the cease-fire in the wake of violence that escalated after Abbas called for early elections to break a political deadlock with the Islamists.

Hamas condemned Abbas's move as a coup to oust it less than a year after it surprised Fatah to win a parliamentary ballot.

The fresh violence is likely to revive fears among Palestinians that Gaza could slip into civil war.

Neither has the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians also seek statehood, been spared. Unidentified gunmen abducted a Hamas government aide in Ramallah, security sources said. In Jenin, gunmen fired at the home of Palestinian minister for prisoner affairs, Wasfi Kabha, the sources said. He was unhurt.

Among the Gaza dead were three security officials loyal to Abbas who were killed in the southern town of Khan Younis, hospital officials said.

Abbas's Preventive Security force said the three died when a Hamas police unit ambushed two of its vehicles. Hamas said the security force fired first.
Cross Posted at Classical Values


Anonymous said...

I posted a thing on mine a couple of weeks ago re Jerusalem/Romala. BBC were doing a week on "generation next" the under 18s. As part of this BBC World Service Radio gathered the brightest and best of young Palestinians and Israelis for a half hour chat.
Honestly, the ignorance on both sides. (These kids were really articulate and obviously as well-educated as their respective situations allowed, but, as I say the SHEER IGNORANCE was ASTOUNDING!! E.g. the Palestinians, who read the Koran, that talks about Abraham etc didn't even know that the Jews had a 3500 yr ++ history with the land of Palestine (which I thought was astonishing).
Both sides in this argument said things so inflamatory I v nearly turned the radio off for sheer frustration not being able to bang some of these kids' heads together...

PS Did you know Jerusalem is meant to mean "Harbour of Peace"...!!?!!???

M. Simon said...


I'm Jewish and had never heard that.


Here is part of thw wiki on the subject:

It is possible to understand the name (Hebrew Yerushalayim) as either "Heritage of Salem" or "Heritage of Peace" – a contraction of "heritage" (yerusha) and either Salem (Shalem literally "whole" or "in harmony") or shalom ("peace"). (See the Biblical commentator Nachmanides for explanation.) "Shalem" is the name used in Genesis 14:18 for the city. Similarly the Amarna Letters call the city Urušalim in Akkadian, a cognate of the Hebrew Ir Shalem ("city of Salem"). Some consider a connection between the name and Shalim - the deity personifying dusk known from Ugaritic myths and offering lists. The ending -ayim or -im has the appearance of the Hebrew dual or pluralis. It has been argued that it is a dual form representing the fact that the city lies on two hills however the treatment of the ending as a suffix makes the rest of the name incomprehensible in Hebrew. A Midrashic interpretation comes from Genesis Rabba, which explains that Abraham came to "Shalem" after rescuing Lot. Upon arrival, he asked the king and high priest Melchizedek to bless him, and Melchizedek did so in the name of the Supreme God (indicating that he, like Abraham, was a monotheist). According to exegetes, God immortalizes this encounter between Melchizedek and Abraham by renaming the city in honor of them: the name "Yeru" (derived from "Yireh", the name Abraham gives to Mount Moriah after unbinding Isaac, and explained in Genesis as meaning that God will be revealed there) is placed in front of "Shalem". The plural ending implies the community of all believers in the One God who testify to the city's holiness and sacredness.


M. Simon said...

Why there will never be a Palestinian State.