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