Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gaza City Goes To Hell

27 Killed In Hamas Vs Fatah Clashes In 24 Hours

Syria Says Palestinians Are "Playing Into The Hands Of Israel"

Reality inside Gaza has become so warped that one 'terrorist' group, backed, armed and funded by Israel and the US, is warring against another 'terrorist' group that is actually the democratically elected government.

If what is happening today in Gaza is not civil war, it is something so close as to be all but indistinguishable.

More than 50 people have been killed in five days of fighting, mostly militants, with at least 27 killed in one day. Fatah and Hamas militants are gunning each other down in the street, raiding each others' homes, destroying each others' security compounds and taking each other hostage :

Hamas militants waged an assault on the three main security forces compounds in Gaza City on Wednesday, seizing control over most of the Gaza Strip, in clashes with the rival Fatah movement which left at least 27 people dead.
Hamas' armed wing said "the coup-seekers" - a reference to Fatah - in that area have until Friday evening to hand over their weapons.

Hamas' assault on Gaza City, the main city in the coastal strip, came hours after the key southern town of Khan Yunis fell to Hamas. The Islamic militants detonated a one-ton bomb underneath the Preventative Security headquarters there, nearly demolishing the building and killing at least one person, Palestinian security and medical officials said.
From ABC :

Hamas Islamist fighters have gained ground against forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in intense battles for control of the Gaza Strip.

Diplomats said a top aide to Mr Abbas told them that some of the president's men ran for their lives, others ran out of bullets and that after five days of battle "Gaza is lost".

As Hamas continued to press for control of Gaza, the Arab League tried to end the fighting between Hamas and Mr Abbas's more moderate Fatah faction.

Hamas forces took important ground in north and central Gaza as they pressed their attacks on Wednesday (local time).

With the machine guns and mortars of civil war echoing in Gaza City after dark, hospital officials tallied another 33 deaths over the day, including a teenager at a peace rally and schoolboy shot leaving an exam room.

But most of the dead were fighters from Abbas's secular Fatah faction and their Hamas rivals.

Forty members of the security forces, loyal to Fatah, blew a hole in the fence between Gaza and Egypt and fled the chaos. Another 300 members of a clan which is loyal to Fatah surrendered to Hamas in a refugee camp in Gaza city.

Civillians demanding an end to the chaos came under fire and two were killed. It was not immediately clear who shot at them.

The Arab League has scheduled a meeting this weekend in a bid to end the fighting.

Syria claimed the fighting factions in Gaza are "playing into the hands of the Israelis" and warned them to stop :
"Syria is watching with concern the confrontations between brothers, which only serve the interests of the enemies of the Palestinian cause and of the Arab nation,’ the foreign ministry said.

‘We exhort our Palestinian brothers to stop the violence, because the recovery of (their) rights and the achievement of national objectives come through national unity.

‘The building of an independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital, and the guarantee that Palestinians will return to their homes can only be achieved by unity in the ranks against the Israeli occupation."

A 'secret' UN report,
written by Israel's highest ranking UN officials, condemns the United States for "pummelled into submission" moves by the United Nations to try and bring peace to the region. The report's chief complaints include the following :
* The international boycott of the Palestinians, introduced after Hamas won elections last year, was "at best extremely short-sighted" and had "devastating consequences" for the Palestinian people

* Israel has adopted an "essentially rejectionist" stance towards the Palestinians

* The Quartet of Middle East negotiators - the US, the EU, Russia and the UN - has become a "side-show"

* The Palestinian record of stopping violence against Israel is "patchy at best, reprehensible at worst"

Leaders Of Fatah And Hamas Both Survived Assassination Attempts

EU Will Consider Military Role In Gaza, If Asked

Palestinian Government On Brink Of Collapse

Secret UN Report Condemns United States For Middle East Failures

Bloody Battles Push Gaza Towards Civil War