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The world may soon adopt "Palestinian cease-fire" as a self-evident oxymoron. Hours after announcing the latest cessation of hostilities between Fatah and Hamas, both groups conducted major attacks on the other, leaving a broadcast station in ruins and ambulances dodging bullets across Gaza:
Hamas fighters blew up a pro-Fatah radio station in Gaza, ambulances were caught in the crossfire and gunmen exchanged heavy fire in deserted streets as a new wave of factional fighting raged Friday throughout the chaotic coastal territory.
The resurgent violence, which has killed 10 people since Thursday, destroyed a brief truce between Fatah and Hamas and forced thousands of Gazans to huddle in their homes to escape the crossfire.
In a symbol that the two sides had returned to open warfare, their respective radio stations stopped playing songs of national unity and broadcast songs about armed struggle and fighting the enemy.
In this case, for those keeping score, Egypt blamed Hamas for breaking the truce with an attack on an official convoy. It didn't take long for the situation to escalate from there. The presidential guard of Mahmoud Abbas surrounded the Interior Ministry, controlled by Hamas, and started exchanging gunfire on the compound. Hamas started launching mortar shells at a Fatah training base.The fighting has disintegrated into street fighting now, wounding more than a hundred people in Gaza City alone. Hamas blew up a radio station, and no civil authority exists to put an end to the fighting.
It seems that the Palestinians have slipped into open civil war, a development that will surprise no one. Instead of attempting to arm one side over the other, as the West has proposed by sending arms to Abbas, the better solution would be to isolate the territories and let them fight it out amongst themselves. None of the factions involved support democracy or peaceful co-existence, and no faction ever will as long as the West keeps supporting terrorists of any stripe.
Maybe at some point the Palestinian people will tire of this civil war and generate leadership interesting in peace. Until then, any mention of a Palestinian cease-fire will continue to evoke nothing but cynical laughter.Sphere It View blog reactions
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