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Palestine | International

Awaking to a different Gaza
by Electronic Intifada (reposted)
Friday Jun 15th, 2007 11:26 PM
Friday, June 15, 2007 :In Gaza people awake today to a new reality. Last night, my host Isa told me military coups were the sort of thing he heard and read about, he never thought he would experience one. Yesterday Gazans did.
Although the final Fatah stronghold was still standing by the evening Hamas fighters were already making the rounds in the streets, three and four jeeps at a time, loaded with armed men wearing all black, their faces covered with masks, holding their guns in the air, a few, rather uncomfortably, waving to the people. On al-Aqsa, the only remaining radio station being aired from Gaza belonging to Hamas, these areas are being called "freed" from the traitors.

A former Fatah spokesman, now speaking on behalf of Hamas, was heard on the air denouncing his former leaders, calling them US spies and traitors.

A further shock came around 8pm when Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) announced Gaza a renegade entity and declared his presidency over the West Bank. Gazans reacted with disgust. During the fighting of the past few days Abu Mazan was largely silent, ordering his forces to stay in their bases. Many consider Abu Mazen to have sold out his own leadership in the Gaza Strip by not coming to their rescue; now he was throwing his people (Fatah supporters) away, like garbage, they said.

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by UK Guardian (reposted)
Saturday Jun 16th, 2007 8:35 AM

The rout of Fatah's military forces in Gaza was as sudden as it was unexpected. Only months ago the Palestinian movement summoned tens of thousands of supporters on to the streets, but yesterday Fatah officials were fleeing ignominiously in boats. The house of the Fatah commander Mohammed Dahlan, the chief hate figure of Islamists in Gaza, was stripped bare by looters and green flags were flying over the National Security headquarters, the residence of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. Nobody could have been more surprised to find themselves controlling the streets of Gaza than Hamas. Just as they were unprepared for the victory they won in elections last year, Hamas must be waking up today and asking themselves a familiar question: what now?

There are no obvious or easy answers. The border crossings with both Egypt and Israel are closed. No aid can get in and an extended closure would rapidly lead to a food and medical crisis for the 1.4 million Palestinians penned up inside. Hamas said its forces would take up positions at the crossings, but neither Israel nor Egypt, which withdrew its mission to Gaza yesterday, is in any mood to let them. Hamas will need someone to negotiate on their behalf with Israel, which supplies both the water and electricity in Gaza. There are wider questions. Before this conflict started, two political grievances were unresolved by the Saudi-brokered Mecca agreement and the creation of the national unity government. They were the issues of who had control over Palestinian security forces and the question of Hamas's role within a reformed PLO. Control of Gaza could provide Hamas with more leverage in future negotiations, but in the immediate future neither of these two objectives is advanced. Nor does the creation of a mini-state, a Hamastan, make any sense to an Islamist movement with national Palestinian aspirations. If there was little chance of winning more support in the West Bank before this week's bloody events there will be even less chance now, when the air in Ramallah is thick with calls for revenge.

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2104476,00.html