When Hamas claimed victory in Palestinian elections almost a year ago, Palestinians had renewed hope that their misery would soon come to an end. Hamas still refused to officially recognise Israel, but instituted a "cease fire" regardless, and reached out to engage Israel, the rest of the Arab world and chiefly the United States, in peace talks.
But the United States, who backed democratic elections in Palestine, decided to side with Israel and locked Hamas out of 'Roadmap To Peace', two-state negotiations. Funding was cut, Israel destroyed power plants in Gaza and the West Bank under the guise of pursuing militants, and the killings continued.
The Palestinian Authority, once so deeply despised by Israel that its leaders could barely stand to even be in the same room as the Fatah members, let alone Yasar Arafat, suddenly found itself befriended by Israel and the United States.
Recently, Israel and the US began funding Fatah and, remarkably, arming it with an array of guns and ammunition. But there was a condition for the cash and the guns. Fatah had to break Hamas.
And so a virtual civil war rages today in the streets of Gaza, amidst Fatah-Hamas ceasefires and truces. Dozens have died in the past two weeks alone, including many children.
While the 'Qaurtert' meets in the United States, peace and an internationally acknowledged state for the Palestinians now seem further away than they've been for years. If not decades.
From Haaretz :
Clashes between Fatah and Hamas gunmen resumed across the Gaza Strip on Saturday in defiance of a truce deal, sending Gazans who had tentatively ventured from their homes scattering to seek refuge from the violence.
On Saturday afternoon, Fatah sources announced that Hamas gunmen kidnapped six unarmed members of the Palestinian Authority's Preventative Security Service at roadblocks they had set up in the city.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas' Damascus-based political leader Khaled Mashal agreed to an immediate cease-fire late Friday, after two days of factional violence left 25 Palestinians dead, Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said.
Rumours of Iranian involvement in Gaza, backing and arming Hamas, run rampant, as the US and Israel claims that at least six Iranian weapons experts were arrested at a Hamas-run university complex.
Through Gaza and the West Bank there now grows the very proxy Sunni Vs Shia war feared, and sometimes cheered, by all the major regional power players. But hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are now on the verge of starvation. Many live without electricity, fresh water, basic sanitation.
And all the while, Israel and swarms of 'settlers' continue to occupy and annex Palestinian lands while the US pretends it doesn't see what's going on.
From the Melbourne Age :
From Haaretz :
"What's happening here in Palestine is good only for Israel, but what can we do?" said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, who on Thursday was the target of an unsuccessful Fatah assassination bid.
"We had a democratic process and people voted for Hamas and for us to form the Government. But the whole world supported Israel, even most Islamic countries. What we understand is that some Fatah people are co-ordinating with the Israelis and Americans to destroy our national project."
A Fatah commander in Gaza acknowledged that Fatah was being armed and funded by the US and Israel but said: "There is no other way for us to survive as Palestinians but to look for support from the Israelis, the Americans and the Arab world."
The Americans say events of the past week in Gaza have only proved to the Palestinians that the Hamas government cannot provide them with the security they need. "Hamas is trying to shake off responsibility and give it to the international community," a source in the State Department said, "but it's their responsibility."
The American noted that in Gaza, where Hamas' control is ostensibly stronger [than in the West Bank], Hamas is unable "to deliver the Palestinians what they expect."
This is, of course, exactly what Washington and Israel has dreamed of for the past twelve months. They want to prove they were right from the beginning, that Hamas could not bring peace to Palestine.
The majority of Palestinians chose to elect Hamas after Fatah's Palestinian Authority failed to bring peace and improvements to daily life for years. Palestinians are now continuing to be punished for their insolence in choosing to elect Hamas, against the wishes of Israel and the United States.
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