"...But it had been the battle for the headquarters of Preventative Security in Gaza City which was the bloodiest as well as the most decisive in Hamas's relentless four-day campaign to take control of Gaza. This was not least, according to witnesses, because of a murderous aftermath in which several Fatah activists were dragged from the building and executed in the street." - The Independent, London in an article about violent upheaval in Gaza
Do not underestimate the importance of these news events. What has happened this week in Gaza may change the course of the entire Middle East. By arming Hamas with weapons and funds, Iran - a non-Arab country - continues its attempts to destablise the region and broaden its own power base. Syria, too is believed to be supporting Hamas.
And now front-line moderate states like Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have a new threat to contend with, as Hamas - who consistently has refused to recognise Israel and decades of peace accords with the Palestinians - has announced it aims to establish an Islamic state. Jordan has concerns that Palestinian in-fighting could spread across the river into its territory, where at least half the population is Palestinian. And Israel certainly won't welcome the prospect of an "Islamic state" virtually on its doorstep.
Long before violent clashes erupted between Hamas and Fateh militants, a humanitarian crisis has been brewing in the Gaza Strip. Most foreign aid and humanitarian efforts have been suspended to Gaza's 1.5 million residents. On Friday, the UN Secretary General discussed prospects of a Security Council meeting to authorise sending UN peacekeepers to Gaza, once law and order has been restored. Israel retains control of Gaza's crossings, territorial waters and airspace. Hamas announced Friday it plans to take control of Gaza's crossing with Egypt, closed since fighting began earlier in the week.
Under an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, the crossing was monitored by European observers. It is unclear whether the monitors or Israel would accept such an arrangement. Previously, the crossing was patrolled by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Presidential Guard, now defeated after a five-day battle with Hamas. Sources close to the Palestinian president said Israel had ignored repeated requests to allow deliveries of ammunition to Palestinian Authority forces, leaving them outgunned by Hamas.
While Hamas retains control of Gaza and declares Islamist rule in defiance of previous peace accords, the Palestinian quest for an independent state nears collapse. Fourteen years after the Oslo accords improved the prospect of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, its territory effectively has broken into two warring entities. The week of violence between Hamas and Fatah has left almost 100 people dead.
Qais Abu Leila, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee, told reporters action will be taken to stop the "insurrection." "This is a fight to preserve everything that we have built over the last 14 years," he said.
In Ramallah, headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian President Abbas appointed Salam Fayyad as his new prime minister. Fayyad twice served as Palestinian finance minister and worked for the World Bank from 1987 to 1995. From 1995-2001 he was the International Monetary Fund representative to the Palestinian Authority.
The Bush administration described the Gaza events as "a source of profound concern," accusing Hamas of committing acts of terror. The EU suspended what few aid projects it still maintained in Gaza. France and other European nations reaffirmed their support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Information compiled from various news sources.