A Round Up of the Shameful Violence in Palestine
As if occupation, assassinations, home demolitions, and international siege were not enough to make the lives of Palestinians a living hell, now comes the threat of internal conflict between criminals affiliated with both Fatah and Hamas and opportunists who want to take advantage of the instability that is rampant in the Occupied Territories.
This began when the three children of the head of intelligence services Major Baha' Balousha were brutally murdered on their way to school. Balousha is a member of the Fatah party, and fingers were immediately pointed at the ruling party Hamas, without any evidence for such an implication.
"They drained my blood when they killed my three children, and wasted my lifetime's fruit in the blink of an eye. If they consider that an accomplishment, I congratulate them for it", the bereaved mother said.According to fellow blogger Laila who heard the shots from her house, some sources indicate that it may have been Fatah members who had grudges against Balousha, which is not far fetched considering the fact that he is head of the sensitive intelligence department.
Apparently, Balousha had some sort of information on another high profile figure within Fateh that somebody thought should die with him. Except, of course, he missed his target.Regardless of what the motive was, and who the intended target was, the fact of the matter is that taking the law into your own hands should not be an option. Sadly, children had to die to make it clear to their elders that their actions are brutal and uncalled for.
Balousha had reportedly documented CIA money transfers to Abbas’s Fateh movement, and who was getting paid, as well as some other information about local drug dealers. I guess if you are an intelligence chief, there is a limitless number of reasons that people would want you dead.
Unfortunately, the murders did not stop after this horrific incident. A Hamas affiliated judge was shot to death "gang style" by criminals allegedly from Fatah. He was the second judge to be killed in one week.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh cut his international begging trip short after the escalation of violence. He was attempting to reach out to neighboring countries that could help stem the growing despair in the Territories as the international community continues to impose sanctions on the democratically elected government. Israel prevented him from entering Gaza with the cash he received during his trip. The cash would have been used to pay the salaries of government employees who have not been paid for months.
On his way back into Gaza, the prime minister and his guards got into a scuffle with security forces affiliated with Fatah. The scuffle intensified and the PM's body guards was killed and twenty others were injured, including his son. The PM accused Fatah of attempting to assassinate him.
At the bodyguard's funeral, Khalil al-Hayeh, head of the Hamas bloc in parliament, told mourners that Dahlan was trying to instigate a coup against the government and appeared to call for his assassination.Wait a minute, look who's talking! Dahlan?! One of the most vicious and corrupt members of Fatah?
Dahlan said the allegations were an attempt by Hamas leaders "to mask their sweeping failure to manage Palestinian political and social life."
At a Hamas led rally in Gaza the next day, Hamas officials said that President Abbas wants to start a war among Palestinians. Fatah affiliated security forces fired shots during the rally which caused clashes among protesters and armed forces.
And in the clashes continued in the West Bank:
So who is to blame?
The fighting Friday in the normally peaceful city of Ramallah began when Hamas supporters tried to march toward the town center, where Fatah-allied police had deployed to prevent a planned Hamas celebration.
Police formed a cordon around a Hamas mosque to prevent those inside from marching, then beat them with clubs and fired their rifles in the air when the activists tried to leave. The marchers fought back, throwing stones and bottles at the police, some of whom fired into the crowd.
There is no doubt that many have taken advantage of the deteriorating situation in the OT's. Fatah, in a weakened position after Hamas took control of the government through democratic elections, has been almost revelling as it watches the government fail to maintain control of the streets, keep the government running, or provide basic services for Palestinians due to the international siege imposed on them.
The US should be proud as well, as the Bush administration led the international community in boycotting the Hamas-led government and punishing the Palestinians for taking part in a democratic election. I guess this was part of the democracy promotion plan. It's no wonder then our efforts in Iraq are failing miserably.
To those criminals who are the cause of the violence: please, stop competing with the IDF. Please don't let the world watch as Palestinians grab each others' throats. Stop these shameful and senseless acts and know that your real enemy is the occupation and the individuals who are imposing this illegal occupation on you.
Photos courtesy of Reuters, AP, Getty Images. See NYTimes slideshow.