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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Palestinian Civil War Watch: Hamas - Fatah war to start Thursday

The 'Palestinians' are in the middle of celebrating Eid-el-Fitr (which I guess means festival of the sacrifice, since in Hebrew they call it חג הקרבן). Eid-el-Fitr concludes tomorrow, and with it Ramadamadan and the relative peace and quiet in Judea, Samaria and Gaza come to an end. There should be a war between Fatah and Hamas by Thursday morning. According to the Jerusalem Post,
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has instructed his loyalists in Fatah and the PA security forces to be prepared for a "major security operation" in the Gaza Strip in the coming days.

They said the decision was made in the wake of the growing tensions between Hamas and Fatah and the killing of five Fatah activists and security officers over the past few days.

"Thousands of Palestinian policemen and Fatah gunmen will be deployed in the streets of the Gaza Strip after the feast," the sources told The Jerusalem Post. "The measure is designed to halt the anarchy in the Gaza Strip and to show Hamas that the PA leadership is determined to protect its representatives."
But Hamas seems anxious for the fight:
Both Qatar and Egypt have been exerting heavy pressure on Hamas to agree to Abbas's plan to form a technocratic government that would convince the international community to resume financial aid to the Palestinians.

But in an interview with Al-Jazeera, Mashaal categorically rejected the idea, saying a "technocratic" government was good in Europe, but not in a place like the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Mashaal was also reported to have rejected a Qatari initiative calling for the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit in return for a few hundred Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
And Israel may well get involved too:
Egypt, Qatar and Jordan have warned the Palestinians that Israel is preparing a massive military operation in the Gaza Strip in the event that efforts to release Shalit fail, a senior PA official told the Post. He said that such an operation would play into the hands of Hamas and undermine Abbas's efforts to replace the Hamas government.

"The countdown for an Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip has begun," the official claimed. "Such an operation will have devastating effects on the people in the Gaza Strip and could result in the collapse of the Palestinian Authority."
There's another reason why Israel may be looking for action in the Gaza Strip:
In a briefing to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said he believed the IDF must stay in the Philadelphi Corridor, explaining, "There is an underground city being dug in the Gaza Strip," where in the past three days "IDF troops have uncovered at least one hundred tunnel openings in the Rafah area."

But Halutz stressed that "no decision has been made" and that the army is examining options of how to best deal with the terror-tunnel threat.

A recent IDF intelligence report warned that the pace of smuggling by armed groups in Gaza, as well as the quality of weapons being imported, was increasing.

Halutz went on to tell committee members that each tunnel was around 1.5 kilometers in length.
The coming 'Palestinian' civil war may be a good excuse for the IDF to take care of business in the Gaza Strip.
However, a sweeping counter-terror operation, as recommended by commanders in the field, will most likely not be implemented in the near future because of public pressures.
What public pressure? If anything, there is public pressure to undertake such an operation. On the other hand, there is one thing that can unify Fatah and Hamas: The IDF.


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