November 13, 2007

The Upcoming Gaza Civil War

A day after committing an atrocity against Fatah protestors, Hamas took steps to ensure justice -- by rounding up and jailing the dissenters. The terrorist group arrested hundreds of people, apparently for assaulting their bullets as they attempted a peaceful path through a crowd estimated at 200,000 people in Gaza:

Hamas says it has rounded up dozens of Fatah activists in Gaza, a day after a huge rally commemorating Yasser Arafat ended in gunfire killing seven people.

Witnesses say security forces opened fire on unarmed crowds after the rally turned into a protest against the Hamas movement's takeover of Gaza in June.

Hamas says its police came under attack from Fatah gunmen and returned fire.

Fatah party officials allege 400 of their supporters were arrested and dozens more ordered for questioning.

Mahmoud Abbas broke out the heavy-duty rhetoric in response to the massacre and stampede. He told Hamas that they were no better than the Israelis, comparing the assault with the "crimes of the Israeli occupier". Despite the unfairness of the comparison -- when have the Israelis fired into a peaceful protest? -- that has to sting Hamas' leadership.

Hamas has certainly provided a clear example of what Islamist rule would look like in the territories. The display has to damage the credibility of either Fatah or Hamas to act as a peace partner, especially while Abbas makes backhanded accusations as he did in this statement. The Israelis can't be blamed for wondering whether Hamas could take control of the West Bank after independence, and thinking that one terrorist state on its border in Gaza is more than enough.

Gazans have stated that they preferred Israeli occupation to Hamas' dictatorship, so perhaps the probability of a Hamas takeover through democratic means in the West Bank is remote. Gazans might take care of Hamas and their Syrian- and Iranian-backed leadership the old-fashioned way shortly, in any case. If Gaza has not yet fallen into civil war, it will come within weeks. The next fight will last a lot longer than five days, and it could get very bloody -- and just like any other gang war, the civilians in the crossfire will suffer the most.


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