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Hamas and Fatah in a civil war
Turmoil in Palestine in June 2007

Added on June 15, 2007
Deposed Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that he wanted to continue with the national unity coalition. He rejected the possibility of a separate Palestinian state in Gaza, without the West Bank. He promised to restore order in Gaza and called for an end to violence.

Article added on June 14, 2007
On Thursday, June 14, 2007 the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas alias Abu Mazen has finally come to the conclusion that the days of the Government of National Unity are over. The Hamas-Fatah coalition government was born out of Hamas' necessity to end its isolation and Fatah's ambition to return to power.

Both Palestinian parties and their sub-organizations tried to profit from the stalemate to smuggle arms into Palestinian territory. Unlike many expected, Hamas did not try to attack Israel in order to blame the neighbor for the desolate economic and social situation, in reality a fruit of the self-inflicted isolation caused by the Islamists. Instead, the Hamas leadership decided to take on its Palestinian rival: Fatah.

On June 14, 2007, the Fatah-run Palestinian National Security Headquarters in Gaza fell under the control of Hamas. According to Haaretz, it was the third out of four key Fatah security command centers in Gaza City to fall under Hamas control.

According to another report by Haaretz, the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is planning to convince the American President Bush of the urgent need to view the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as two separate entities and to prevent contact between them.

The Palestinian President Abbas has not managed to turn around the situation. Why has he agreed to join the coalition government? It should have been clear to him that a government of National Unity made only sense if Hamas was ready to embrace the principles of the Middle East Quartet, notably to accept the existence of the State of Israel.

Jewish sheet music - Klezmer sheet music - The story of Klezmer music

Today, President Abbas dissolved the Second Cabinet Haniyeh and declared the state of emergency. Instead of having Fatah join the government, Abbas could have called for early elections, as he had threatened more than once in his power poker with Haniyeh.

Abbas' problem was and is that Fatah is still the same corrupt and inefficient organization as in 2006, when it lost the last election. To win early elections would have been a difficult, unrealistic goal for Fatah, despite the obvious conclusion that Hamas, with its unchanged policy would never overcome isolation and therefore be unable to bring freedom and prosperity to Palestine.

The fact that Hamas has not managed to make the change from an extremist movement to a responsible political party does not make Fatah a luminous attraction to the Palestinian voter.

The situation in the Gaza Strip has not suddenly turned into a civil war between Fatah and Hamas. As early as May 12, 2007 Avi Issacharoff wrote in Haaretz that, for several weeks, the Gaza Strip had been burning. He pointed out to over 100,000 armed men in the Gaza Strip, belonging to Fatah and Hamas, to political and security organizations and, above all, to clans. According to Issacharoff, al-Qaida-type organizations - compared to whom Hamas people looked like boy scouts - were blowing up and destroying institutions linked to Western culture. But the world was ignoring all this. At the time, the situation in Gaza was of no interest to Western media.

What happens to the civil population in the Gaza Strip? Only the border in Rafah to Egypt is open to the ones among the 1.4 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip eager to escape the civil war between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas has pretty much taken control of the Gaza Strip, whereas Fatah is dominating the West Bank.

Could a further division of Palestine into micro-territories improve the situation of locals living peacefully either under Hamas or Fatah rule? Probably only for the ones lucky enough to live under Fatah rule since Abbas is accepted by the international community whereas Hamas ruled territories would remain internationally isolated. Palestinians under Hamas rule would wish to live under Fatah rule and change their political preference accordingly. This may be one of the vision of Israeli Prime Minister Olmert. But who would organize new elections in Hamas territory or be ready to liberate them from Hamas rule?

Jewish sheet music - Klezmer sheet music - The story of Klezmer music







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© Copyright www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.