Hamas and Fatah are fighting each other non stop in Gaza. It is a very tragic situation and as usual those who suffer the most are innocent Palestinians caught up in the cross-fire. There are those in Israel who are pleased with the instability because of this factional fighting. Surely, there is no justification for glee! Hamas and Fatah are not serving the interests of their people and this does not serve the future of peace and the establishment of a future Palestinian state. The bloodshed and murder in Gaza is to be condemned by all! The hate between the power seekers who wish to continue the turmoil does not serve the interests of Palestinians, Israelis or the Middle East.

The total anarchy is fearful. Since the disengagement in August 2005, the armed groups on both sides have created incredible instability. Where is the elected leadership of the Palestinians? President Mahmoud Abbas is adopting a moderate position in his statements while Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, is undermining him.

The Hamas and Fatah militias are killing each other relentlessly. The chances of an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire are close to zero. It affects the daily lives of Palestinian people who are unable to carry on their daily routines. Children are unable to attend school, and people are not free to do their daily chores which include shopping or going to work. Parents keep their children at home for fear of their lives. This is not because of Israel. Israel is not in Gaza anymore. The moment Israel left unilaterally, a power vacuum was created. This vacuum is not dependent on democratic elections but rather on the ability of various power-hungry factions to control the destiny of the Palestinians. The Palestinians voted for Hamas because of the failure of the Fatah controlled Palestinian Authority to govern. Fatah was corrupt and its members were more interested in the good life rather than establishing institutions of decent government and improving the infra-structure of Gaza. This was grist to the mill of Hamas, untainted by corruption, prior to the Palestinian elections a year ago. They were successful in those elections and pushed Fatah out of power.

Hamas has proved its mettle during its year of power. It has proved that it has no plan for the Palestinian people under its rule. It has achieved nothing apart from sowing hate – not only between Israel and the Palestinians by its refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist and to negotiate peace, but also between the Palestinians themselves.

Hamas is an undemocratic, extremist, terrorist, Islamist organization! It can only survive by creating turmoil and bloodshed! Hate and anti-Israel rhetoric is fuel for Hamas’s survival. It is not interested in the welfare of the Palestinian People or working towards the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The only way to ensure Hamas’s decline is for the moderate Palestinians to make their voice heard – a voice that cries out for peace, normalization of relations with Israel, and the end of the brutal occupation. No army occupation is humane! How could it be? The Israeli settlers in the territories and their right wing allies’ attempt to justify the “humane occupation” are a blatant falsehood! Hamas could never survive if the Palestinians had economic stability. Let us face it and be honest with ourselves.

The checkpoints and Israeli Army abuse of Palestinian rights because of security checks is the fault of Hamas and its terrorist allies! The factional fighting between Hamas and Fatah is also Hamas’s creation. There are those that blame Israel for the factional fighting because Israel had destroyed the Palestinian Authority prior to disengagement and created the vacuum. The Palestinian Authority in those days had been unable to stop the terrorist and suicide bomber incursions into Israel which resulted in Israel attacking Gaza in its search for terrorist cells. This had destroyed the Palestinian Security services which were impotent anyway. How does Hamas justify the murder and suffering of their own people for which they themselves are responsible? Fatah is not blameless either. Israel, with all due respects, cannot be blamed for that.

As the economic boycott against Hamas and its terrorist allies continue, so will the factional fighting. The overflow will also move into Israel with further Qassam rocket fire and suicide terror attempts. Anarchy in Gaza because of the fighting between Hamas and Fatah does not serve the interests of Israelis and Palestinians. It creates further bitterness and hate and strengthens Hamas and their ilk.

According to a report in Haaretz 2nd February, 2007, “The cease-fire between Hamas and Fatah in the Gaza Strip went into effect at around 5 A.M. Tuesday, allowing the residents of the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City to breathe freely. A few hours later, a Hamas man was shot to death by Fatah gunmen, but the exchanges of fire had stopped. The neighborhood’s residents had been under attack for more than three straight days. The fierce battles in the Strip had centered around the main headquarters of the Fatah-affiliated Preventive Security Service, located in the heart of Tal al-Hawa, where quite a few families – middle class and up, by Gaza standards – live. Most of these families moved in the last few years from crowded neighborhoods and refugee camps to the neighborhood’s new multistory buildings, which were built at the beginning of the decade. The new residents also get a breathtaking view of the Gaza coast. Since Friday morning, though, the residents of these multistory buildings were forced to look out their windows at a different sight altogether: dozens of gunmen running around the streets, carrying Kalashnikov rifles and RPGs, firing at militants from the rival organization. The Preventive Security Service headquarters came under heavy Hamas fire, while members of the security service fired at buildings that the organization had taken over. The windows of the houses near the headquarters shattered from the force of the rocket and mortar-shell blasts, frightening the residents. In one instance, Hamas operatives told residents of an entire building to evacuate the area for their own safety – as well as to make it easier for Hamas to attack the Fatah men”.

The formation of a national unity government between Fatah and Hamas is unlikely at present. While both parties are at each other’s throats one has to have a vivid imagination to forecast such a development.

The tragic violence will only end if both parties realize their responsibilities to their people. This includes cessation of violence, rebuilding infrastructures destroyed during the violence, recognizing Israel’s right to exist and showing a desire to negotiate with Israel in order to achieve a just and lasting peace between both sides.
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