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Palestine: Damage limitation
Rather than moving towards a national unity government, tensions between Fatah and Hamas are threatening to tear the Palestinian street apart, writes Khaled Amayreh in the West Bank
As Fatah continues to raise the ante in preparation for a possible showdown with Hamas, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to deliver an important speech on 16 December in which he will call for early general elections while leaving the door open for further efforts to form a government of national unity.
Fatah has been organising violent demonstrations in Gaza and the West Bank, calling on Abbas to "remove this calamitous government immediately". Unlike other recent protests, which were mainly over unpaid wages, the new round of demonstrations appear to be motivated by vengefulness as Fatah attempts to oust Hamas from government.
The 11 December killing in downtown Gaza of three school children of a Fatah security official, and the subsequent assassination of a Hamas-affiliated judge in Khan Yunis yesterday, will increase tensions between the two camps amid the already poisoned atmosphere of incitement and counter- incitement.
It is not clear yet who committed the murders of the schoolchildren, an action strongly condemned by all Palestinian factions, including Hamas.