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April 14, 2006
Now This Looks Like Civil War

The evacuation of Israel from Gaza has left behind a vacuum which both Fatah and Hamas have tried to fill ahead of the other. Now Joshua Mitnick reports that both have started setting up rival military bases in the first stage of what looks like an impending civil war in the Palestinian territories:

Militant squatters loyal to rivals Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are turning open lots in the Gaza Strip into ad hoc military bases, a development that some fear will lead to open warfare between rival Palestinian factions.

Leaders at the camps say they are acting in the name of the Palestinian uprising against Israel, but the growing presence of what are essentially guerrilla training camps comes at a time of growing instability in Gaza.

"Everyone is showing their strength under the umbrella of the resistance," said Tawfik Abu Khoussa, a former spokesman of the Palestinian Interior Ministry. "If there is a little problem between the factions, maybe they will start a civil war."

This shows again the brilliance of Ariel Sharon in pulling out of Gaza. He allowed the Palestinians to create a laboratory to demonstrate their inability to rule while freeing Israel of a drain on its blood and treasure, a drain that would never have wound up in their possession anyway. He removed the Israelis living in the isolated settlements and left the Palestinians to their own devices.

And look how the Palestinians have reacted. They have destroyed much of the economic development that the settlers established as well as the agricultural projects funded by the West to help the Palestinians become more self-sufficient. Instead of creating a civil authority, the two terrorist groups that pass for political parties have turned Gaza into a series of armed camps, ready to break out into open warfare at any moment. Sharon knew that Fatah and Hamas could not possibly govern but only impose petty fiefdoms based on proximity to their arms. Now the world knows it, too.

Gaza is about to erupt into a major civil war unlike anything seen in Iraq, despite the media portrayals to the contrary. Both sides are well-organized, well-armed, and will fight each other openly in the streets before long. They both hold land and seek to gain the rest. In this case, unlike other civil wars past and present, both sides deserve to lose -- but in the end, the biggest losers will once again be the Palestinians themselves. Perhaps they will learn not to endorse terrorists as governors after the war ends.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 14, 2006 6:51 AM

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» An Impending Civil War in Palestine? from In the Bullpen
That is a distinct possibility because it is generally ruled by two competing bodies, Hamas and Fatah, who both have a historical dislike for the other and a quest to become the leader.  If this fact alone was what could bring Palestine to the brink o... [Read More]

Tracked on April 14, 2006 10:31 PM


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