Saturday, June 30, 2007

Israel assassinates Fatah militants in Gaza

Among the Palestinians assassinated in the Gaza Strip today, not one is a member of Hamas, nor even all of them Islamic Jihad. Haaretz reported this,

"Abu Thaer, a spokesman for the armed wing of Fatah, said the head of the group's militant wing in the central Gaza region, 50-year-old Salah Quffa, had been killed in the attack.

His son, Iyad, was also killed, the spokesman said.

The third casualty, 40-year-old Samir Abu-Muslim, was apparently a civilian bystander."

These are members of the Ayman Jouda group, a part of
Fatah's military wing who have long acted independently of the Palestinian president and his security commanders. In recent infighting between Hamas and a number of Fatah security forces they stayed far from the fighting. The existence of such entities dispel notions of a mere "civil war" between Hamas and Fatah. Groups such as Ayman Jouda point to the increasing fragmentation of Fatah, largely along the lines of pro- and anti-US complicity.

Abbas appearing to distance himself from the US?

Abu Mazen choses France as the location to make declarations calling on an International Peacekeeping force to police Gaza. Making these statements in Paris, must be Abu Mazen's weak attempt at distancing himself from a hard U.S. and Israeli line that the Palestinian president has been taking lately. Furthermore, it is rather peculiar that Abu Mazen promises returning law and order to all of Palestinian Territories when at least in Gaza Palestinain are now finally experiencing law and order now that Fatah leaders have packed up and left and many Fatah forces are staying at home these days. This reminds me of the sort of things I would be required to analyze in Logic 101. Hamas's use of force, which Abu Mazen refers to continuously does not demonstrate Hamas' innate violent nature.

At the end of the press conference Abu Mazen does make an honest comment that Palestinians need hope, not just security. In Gaza at least Hamas has provided some sembalnce of security, but hope truly is lacking for many people here. Yet sadly, hope is also not found in Abu Manzen's consistant appearances with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert or his empty rhetoric of a "peace process" and a "bi-national solution."

It looks as if Egypt and Saudi Arabia are re-considering their harsh stance towards Hamas. If not Hamas in the Gaza Strip, could other groups like Alqaeda have a presence on Egypt's border soon? Hamas may soon look soft compared to other ideologies that could soon gain popularity in Gaza. Egypt has decided to move its embassy back to Gaza while Abu Mazen will continue issuing passports from Gaza after all.

Israel vs. Hizballah Summer 2007?

Haaretz reports Saturday June 30, 12:30am,

"Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon expressed "deep concern" Friday that Lebanon's continuing internal political instability will hinder its implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, the ceasefire agreement that ended the Second Lebanon War, which calls for the disarmament of all militant groups in the region near the country's border with Israel."