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Hamas Offers Amnesty to Fatah Leaders
by reposted
Friday Jun 15th, 2007 6:51 AM
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- On its first day of full rule in Gaza, the Islamic militant Hamas on Friday granted amnesty to Fatah leaders, signaling that it seeks conciliation with the defeated forces of moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Many had feared more bloodshed, particularly after victorious Hamas gunmen executed several Fatah fighters in the streets gangland-style on Thursday, in the final phase of the decisive five-day battle over Gaza.

Gazans awoke to the new reality of Hamas control Friday, fraught with uncertainty and fear that they'll become even poorer and more isolated. Gaza's crossings with Egypt and Israel _ lifelines for the fenced-in territory _ have been closed this week, and it was not clear if they would reopen. Extended closure could quickly lead to a humanitarian crisis.

A Hamas spokesman said Palestinian police, now under Hamas command, would take up positions at the crossings, but it's unlikely Israel would acquiesce to such a deployment, after Hamas militants frequently attacked the passages in the past.

The Palestinian territories are in effect split in two. Gaza is now controlled by Hamas, which has close ties to Syria and Iran. The more populous West Bank, with about 2 million residents to Gaza's 1.4 million, is dominated by the more moderate Fatah, which has ties to Israel and the West.

§Voices from Gaza
by Al Jazeera (reposted) Friday Jun 15th, 2007 6:53 AM
Friday, June 15, 2007 : Al Jazeera talks to Palestinians in Gaza about the recent violence and what the future holds.

With Hamas fighters now in control of the Gaza Strip, Al Jazeera spoke to two young Palestinians living in the territory about the events of the past few days, how it has affected them personally, and what they feel the future holds for the Palestinians.

Lina al-Sharif, 18, student in Gaza City

Fighting has convulsed the Gaza Strip
in recent days [EPA] Last night, where I live in Gaza City, Hamas loyalists took over our roof and the downstairs of our building.

Fatah loyalists were on the buildings opposite and the Hamas fighters were shooting from our building. Many windows were broken and bullets were flying into our house.

My dad said we must move to my aunt's house - which is very close - so we went there and stayed for seven or eight hours, then we were told it was safe and we went home.

The Hamas loyalists on our roof came down and said: "Forgive us for the damage."

I said: 'It's hard to forgive but, OK, we have to forgive."

Read More
by MEO (reposted)
Friday Jun 15th, 2007 7:45 AM

International community voices increasing alarm about humanitarian situation in Gaza.

GAZA CITY - Hamas fighters were in full control of the Gaza Strip on Friday after routing their Fatah rivals in days of vicious gunbattles.

The democratically elected group overran the territory hours after president Mahmud Abbas sacked the government and declared a state of emergency in a bid to avert all-out civil war.

Sporadic gunfire rattled across the impoverished strip, now completely sealed off from the outside world by Israel, as looters took to the streets.

Hamas's action, branded a "military coup" by Abbas and triggering alarm among world leaders, splits the Palestinians into two entities and throws into jeopardy any prospect for an independent state and peace with Israel.

Abbas on Friday tasked independent Salam Fayyad with forming an emergency government after dismissing the Hamas-led unity cabinet, an experiment in power-sharing that failed barely three months after it took office.