The problem for Israel is that Israeli attacks on Gaza, to stop the accumulation of arms and to hinder Qassam rocket fire, would probably serve to unify the Palestinians and allow Hamas to consolidate their rule under the rubric of "uniting against the Zionist enemy."
Hisham Abu Taha, Arab News
GAZA CITY, 8 September 2007 At least 35 Palestinians were wounded yesterday when Hamas security forces clubbed Fatah supporters who tried to hold street prayers to protest Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip.
Some of the injured had gunshot wounds. "They were chasing and beating and arresting us as if they were occupation soldiers," said one young Fatah supporter in Gaza's Maghazi refugee camp, likening Hamas forces to Israelis.
Palestinian Information Minister Reyad Al-Maliki called it the beginning of a third intifada. He told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah: "What we saw in Gaza today was the beginning of a third Intifada, against the Hamas occupation. We bless this uprising." The earlier two were against Israel in 1987 and 2000.
The street showdowns, which erupted three months after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip violently, had been widely expected after Hamas said it would not allow Fatah to conduct "political prayers" outdoors on Fridays.
The Friday gatherings have become focal points for clashes between the Executive Force that polices the territory and members of Fatah.
The Executive Force briefly detained three Palestinian journalists and assaulted five other reporters.
President Mahmoud Abbas appealed for calm. "We ask our worshippers to avoid any friction or confrontation with the coup-makers and their armed militia," said a statement from Abbas.
Labels: Gaza, Hamas, Palestinians