Yesterday, 06/14/2007, Hamas completed the takeover of Gaza Strip and the headquarters of the Presidential Guard loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas. On the paper the number of armed Fatah loyalists was much higher than the 10,000 Hamas operational force.
Hamas used the tactics of Hizbullah iin the conflict with Amal in 1991 (see – IRANIAN TACTICS) and conducted, for a long time, a personal assassination campaign against Fatah military leadership. The commanders and leaders fled Gaza days ago, leaving behind their men without leadership in disarray. The Presidential Guard was supposed to be a well trained elite unit, trained by Egypt and USA, but the motivation and organization was inefficient.
It is most likely that the exact timing of Hamas campaign in Gaza resulted from the paralysis of Israel government. Israel is one of the main scathed by the Hamas takeover of Gaza Strip and has the ability and the justification to interfere. Right now Israel is facing a major reshuffle in Israeli government. The Defence minister knows that he is going to be replaced in the next days.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has dismissed yesterday evening, 06/14/2007, the Hamas-led coalition government and declared a state of emergency. He will rule the Western Bank, by the time being, by presidential decree. PM Ismail Haniya, of Hamas, said that Mr Abbas' decision was hasty and vowed to continue working for unity.
In fact there is now Two Palestines: Hamastan in Gaza Strip and Fatahstan in the West Bank. There are two security forces loyal to two different political identities – there are Two Palestines with two different political agendas.
USA vowed to continue the support to President Mahmoud Abbas and to train his forces. We do not know how deep is the infiltration of Hamas supporters to the ranks of Fatah. Infiltration is a favorite tactic of Islamic organizations in the Middle East. Hamas has a substantial support in many places in the West Bank like the Northern Samaria and Shechem (Nablus), the town of Kilkilya and Hebron area. The struggle to control the West Bank is still ahead and the Hamas have still a good chance to overcome the Fatah, despite Israel presence and American support.
The main problems for Fatah in the West bank that American support cannot solve are:
A. The perception of corrupted Fatah leadership in the West Bank.
B. The hesitant leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas himself. In fact, Mahmoud Abbas is probably an efficient tool in the Hamas arsenal.
C. The determination and consolidation of Fatah loyalists in the West Bank, which, for now, is poor.
*** In the current situation the new political initiative of King Abdullah of Jordan, published the morning of 05/18/2007, to agree on a sort of a federation between the Palestinian West Bank and Jordan – The United Hashemite Kingdom - and to negotiate on the border with Israel as a sovereign state is the most realistic political initiative in the Middle East now.
If King Abdullahs’ initiative will move forward it will be only a question of (short) time that Egypt, reluctantly, will implement a sort of control over Gaza.
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