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May 24, 2006
Hamas Attempts Slow-Motion Coup

After winning control of the Palestinian parliament, the terrorist group Hamas has now resorted to its traditional strategy to remove the executive branch from the proto-state. The third assassination attempt in the last two weeks netted Hamas its second Fatah scalp, this time a security commander in Gaza, athough Fatah certainly provided the provocation:

A security force commander loyal to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, was killed in an attack on his car in the Gaza Strip yesterday, sharpening tensions between Hamas and Fatah that have now claimed 10 lives this month and prompted warnings of civil war.

Nabil Hodhod, the commander for the central region of the Gaza Strip for the elite Preventive Security Service, was killed by an explosion that was suspected to be either a hand grenade thrown into his vehicle or a bomb planted under it.

Two of his colleagues were wounded. The PSS and other Palestinian security forces remained under the authority of Mr Abbas, the president and Fatah leader, even after Hamas won control of the Palestinian government in January's election.

Shooting broke out at Gaza City's Shifa hospital between Hamas and Fatah gunmen after Mr Hodhod's body was taken to the morgue there.

There was no claim of responsibility for the killing but suspicion fell on Hamas after it held the PSS responsible for an incident earlier in the day in which masked and armed men abducted three Hamas activists outside a mosque in Khan Yunis, shot them in the legs and stomachs and dumped them at a petrol station. One of the men died of his wounds in hospital.

Once again, we see the results of voting for terrorists of any stripe for elective office. Neither group has a monopoly on the use of violence for political advancement. Both Fatah and Hamas use terrorism to control the population and to try to bully Israel into capitulation.

However, Hamas seems more intent on using their electoral victory as a springboard to wipe out Mahmoud Abbas' hold on power, which provides the only check on Hamas' ambitions for conquest. They have been the aggressor in the dissolution of what civil society the Palestinian Authority pretended to support, pushing ever closer to a civil war which they seem sure they can win. The Hamas-led parliament started this battle by sending its Islamist militia into the streets in opposition of the executive's police forces in defiance of a veto by Abbas. That initiated an escalating series of clashes, culminating in the three assassination attempts on PA security officials, two of them successful.

The Palestinians voted for war against Israel when they elected Hamas. Instead, they will have effectively declared war on themselves as they now reap what they have sown. Perhaps this will finally encourage them to form real political parties that operate on the basis of rational negotiations with peace and tolerance as the goal.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 24, 2006 9:29 PM

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