The Palestinian Civil War
It started on Sunday (Oct 2nd, 2005). Palestinian Authority Police clashed with Hamas militants. PA and Hamas disputed the account of incident. According to PA:
Aljazeera reported Palestinian security sources as saying the incident started when a police patrol came across two people fighting at an ATM machine. When the security forces intervened, one of the men called for Hamas assistance and a grenade was thrown.
Hamas disputed the version:
A Hamas spokesman in Lebanon, Usama Hamdan, gave a different account. He told Aljazeera that fighting broke out when the police came to arrest Muhammad Abd al-Aziz al-Rantissi, the son of the late Hamas leader Abd al-Aziz al-Rantissi, who was assassinated by Israel in 2004.
According to Hamdan, the police beat al-Rantissi, people in the neighbourhood gathered to protect him, and the police opened fire indiscriminately to disperse the crowd. Al-Rantissi was unarmed when the police approached him, Hamas said.
Soon the fighting spread and Hamas fired several rockets at a police station killing a PA police major and several other policemen were wounded. Two civilians were also killed in the process. Today the polices stormed the Parliament building to protest inaction by the PA.
"We want the Palestinian Authority to take a stand on Hamas. Our blood is flowing for the Authority and they are not doing anything," one officer dressed in black said.
The sentiment of the officer is understood and justified. It is remained to be seen if Mahmoud Abbas can assert control. The viability of Palestine as a state depends on whether they can maintain law and order. That means that the PA must take on Hamas. The next few days will determined if Abbas has any spine. If Abbas is unwilling or affraid to take on Hamas, the Palestian cannot survive. Abbas will loose the support of his people if they perceive him as weak.
Since the withdrawal of Israel from Gaza, the threat to Palestianian state come not from the Israel Defense Force but Hamas. I am still waiting for condemnation of Hamas by the Arab world - but I won't hold my breath. On the side note, it seem no one in the "Arab street" seem to be outraged about the two Palestinian civilians killed by Hamas. I guess the mudering of Palestinians is acceptable as long it is done by other Palestinians.