May 15, 2007

Hamas Initiating Civil War

Hamas attacked a Gaza checkpoint run by Fatah in conjunction with the Israelis earlier today, killing eight and engaging both Fatah and IDF personnel. The escalation comes a day after the resignation of the Interior Minister and appears to announce Hamas' intention to seize power by force:

Hamas gunmen on Tuesday ambushed rival Fatah forces near a key crossing along the Israeli border, killing eight people in the deadliest battle yet in three days of factional fighting.

The incident briefly drew Israeli gunfire, threatening to drag Israel into the conflict.

At least 18 people have died in the infighting, bringing life in Gaza to a standstill and pushing the fragile Palestinian unity government closer to collapse. Hamas and Fatah formed the union in March with the aim of ending months of violence.

Monday's fighting erupted when Hamas gunmen approached a training base used by Fatah forces that guard the crossing, officials said. The base was set up in part by an American security team sent to train Palestinians on how to check cargo and baggage at crossings.

The Hamas force attacked the base with rockets, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, said Ahmed al-Kaisi, spokesman for the pro-Fatah Presidential Guard, which guards the crossing under an agreement with Israel. "We consider this a serious provocation and a crime committed in cold blood," al-Kaisi said.

The attack occurred at the Karni crossing, which Israel closed after the attack. This puts a huge crimp in the already collapsing Gaza economy. Karni is the main entry point for goods imported into Gaza and the one checkpoint that Israel and the PA had fairly secured. The Hamas attack assures Gazans that they will starve even more quickly than before.

That appears to be a deliberate motivation. This was no impromptu clash between cranky militia patrols, which according to the truce between the two factions shouldn't exist anyway. The Hamas attackers brought rockets and mortars, which means they had planned this mission ahead of time. When Fatah sent more security personnel to assist, they shot the vehicle and forced it off the road, and then surrounded the men in the car and riddled them with bullets. The only reason the Hamas unit retreated was because the IDF showed up with tanks, and their courage apparently only extended to an unannounced attack.

Both Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Abbas spent Naqba Day talking about "national unity" and the need to remain focused on the struggle with Israel. On the day of mourning for the partition of Palestine, though, the actions of Hamas shows that there is no national identity for the Palestinians -- only factions of terrorists with civilian Arabs stuck in the middle, victims of their own leadership choices. Given Gaza and the authority to run it, the Palestinians have proven unable to rise to the occasion in several opportunities.


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Comments (6)

Posted by Fight4TheRight | May 15, 2007 6:11 AM

One can only hope that the recent Lebanon War by Israel was a clever ploy to "feint" military weakness because it's my belief this will be the Summer of Hamas and Hezbollah. Emboldened by a perceived victory in last year's war, Hezbollah has already been restocked - thanks to Nancy Pelosi's visit to Assad, Syria has rearmed Hezbollah at an even speedier rate.

Couple this all with the fact that Iran has thumbed its nose at the World with its nuclear program and still has seen no action against it.

Iran fears no one, Hezbollah fears no one and Hamas fears no one. This Summer will be the proof that terrorists who kidnap, murder and scheme and are NOT put in their place, only spread their destruction further.

Fatah now understands why you don't negotiate with terrorists - The Dems here in the U.S. still think it's the best course, to talk and negotiate - I'd like to ask those same Dems, after the Lebanon cease fire and all of those negotiations....has Israel seen hide nor hair of the 3 kidnapped soldiers?

Just weeks ago Hamas warned the world that it was ready to explode.

At this point in time, I think the only act that could stave off a summer offensive in the Middle East by Hamas and Hezbollah would be some sort of "message" sent to Iran - perhaps a barrage of missile strikes against the nuclear installations - the end result may not be the destruction of Iran's program but it may send the right message to Hamas and Hezbollah.....for once.

Posted by TomB | May 15, 2007 6:43 AM

Hamas killing Fatah? So far so good.

Posted by chsw | May 15, 2007 7:45 AM

Let's wish them both the best of luck.


Posted by The Yell | May 15, 2007 8:02 AM

We can't win a civil war. Bring our diplomats home.

Posted by rbj | May 15, 2007 8:30 AM

Terrorists killing terrorists?

To quote Instapundit: "More, please. Faster"

Posted by Olddeadmeat | May 15, 2007 10:59 AM

While I will admit to a level of schadenfreude, a Palestinian civil war does no one any good, especially not Israel and us.

Analogy: I may not live in my neighbor's house, but if he has frequent domestic quarrels involving shotguns, I can't exactly feel good about letting my kid play in the yard.

Israel needs a unified, prosperous Palestine. Unified, so that there is someone to make a deal with. Prosperous, so that it has something to lose if it starts attacking Israel, and so that Palestinian kids can grow up to aspire to be something beside the trigger of a bomb.

Behold Arafat's legacy to his people: blood on the streets.

Jesus wept.