Mahmud Hams/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Alarmed by the growing number of Palestinians who are emigrating from the Palestinian territories, the Palestinian Authority’s mufti has issued a fatwa [religious decree] forbidding Muslims to leave.
Sources in the PA Foreign Ministry told The Jerusalem Post that some 10,000 Palestinians have filed requests to emigrate from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the year. They said the requests had been approved.[…] The sources said most of the applicants were young men seeking work abroad. They said the majority of them wanted to move to the US, EU and Canada.
That agreement to govern jointly, negotiated under Saudi auspices, put Fatah ministers into a Hamas-led government in an effort to secure renewed international aid and recognition and to stop what was already serious fighting between the two factions.
But the new government has failed to achieve either goal, and it appeared to many in Gaza that the gunmen were not listening to their political leaders. Mr. Abbas is under increasing pressure to abandon the unity government he championed and to try once again to order new elections, which Hamas has said it will oppose by any means.
Hmm, of course not…
Fighting on the streets of Gaza, June 13, 2007.
June 13, 2007 – As gun battles continue to roil the Gaza Strip this week, militants from Hamas are tightening their grip on power. The Islamists have already taken over several hospitals and a number of key Fatah security installations. In the meantime, more than 50 Gazans have been killed, dozens more wounded. Militiamen executed rivals by throwing them off the roofs of high-rises, and masked gunmen set up checkpoints throughout the territory. Even some aid workers are finding themselves caught in the cross-fire. Two Palestinian employees of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) were shot to death on Wednesday, and the agency announced that it would temporarily suspend most of its Gaza operations. (UNRWA distributes food and offers health services to Gaza’s 1 million refugees; some essential aid will continue.)
Q: How do you judge Israel’s response to all this?A: We just hope that everybody shows restraint. This is first and foremost the responsibility of the Palestinians. Israel has legitimate security concerns, but they have to find solutions without adding to or compounding the problem here. Israel, in our view, can significantly contribute to stability by finding a solution to the issues at the border crossings which allow the borders to function. In economic collapse, there’s fertile ground for extremism. Peace is a dividend of economic wellbeing.
The conflict started as a power struggle between Hamas and Fatah – with Fatah being under immense pressure from the United States and Israel to strip Hamas of its power. But Palestinians also know that now the fighting has gotten out of hand. Neither Hamas nor Fatah has much success maintaining any ceasefire as frustrated youths, born in the Gaza pressure-cooker with no future prospects and no hope in sight, take over the streets. My cousin described it best: “This is not a civil war. It is a prison riot.”
Because of the worsening security situation and infighting in Gaza, “Hamas fires its rockets to kill Israeli women and children, while cynically trying to provoke Israel’s reaction and…thereby blame the common enemy of the Palestinian people, which – as Palestinians are brainwashed from childhood to believe – is Israel.
At least 200 gunmen of the Fatah-allied Bakr clan surrendered to Hamas in Gaza City, clan elders and witnesses said
An explosion wrecked the Khan Younis headquarters of the Fatah-linked Preventive Security force, killing five people
There were clashes in Gaza City near a local
Fatah commander’s home and in high rise buildings for control of sniper
posts. Six militants were reported killed
Hamas gunmen gained control of Gaza’s main north-south road
And Hamas said it had taken control of the border in the south between Gaza and Egypt.
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