Friday, June 15, 2007

Dust clears in Gaza

After a turbulent few days and the initial stages of surprise some changes have started to become clear on the ground in Gaza.

UNRWA announced all its operations would return to full capacity after early signs that they would be reduced due to inter-factional fighting.

Hamas has announced that negotiations were taking place with Alan Johnston's captors and promised release by Saturday.

Under U.S. pressure the Government of Israel declared it would release tax monies withheld from the PA since Hamas' election victory early last year (over $700 million dollars) in order to strengthen Abu Mazen's political position vis a vis the Palestinians. As can be seen in this picture, the weak leader is in urgent need of anything he can get.

We walked the streets at midnight tonight, they seemed safer than ever. A friend of mine's brother was shot in the leg yesterday by Hamas forces and is in hospital after a critical operation. I will go visit him and Dr Attalah in the morning.

After routing Fatah in Gaza and taking over every last security stronghold, it seems Hamas has noticed it has reached a bit of a dead end politically and has declared its continued recognition of Abu Mazen as the legitimate Palestinian president.

Fatah on the other hand has responded by naming the Gaza Strip a renegade entity and declaring an emergency government in the West Bank. This is the most bizarre democracy concoction the U.S. hass created here.

What occurred across the Gaza Strip this week was not a civil war, from my understanding of the concept, because it was a one-sided offensive. Yet, we have seen little signs of tit-for-tat arrests and threats taking place between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.. this could be the birth pangs of something like a civil war.

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