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Who is behind the Fatah-Hamas clashes?

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Recent armed clashes between Fatah forces and newly formed Hamas security forces reflect behind-the-scenes manoeuvres of imperialism to divide the Palestinian people with the hope of overthrowing the newly elected Hamas government. They are playing with fire.

On Monday, for two hours Fatah and Hamas forces clashed in Gaza .One person, Khaled Radaida, the driver of Yehiyeh Karala, the Jordanian ambassador, was killed and six others wounded in the clashes when the new 3000-strong Hamas security force made up of different militants fought a Fatah-dominated force near Gaza's Palestinian parliament. Hamas and Fatah have accused each other of starting the battle. However, some witnesses, according to Al Jazeera, said members of the new Hamas-led militia returned fire after coming under attack by the Preventive Security Agency, loyal to Fatah and by some of the ordinary police loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.

This was verified indirectly by Tawfiq Abu Khoussa, a spokesman for Fatah, who said, "security would worsen if Hamas kept its new force on Gaza's streets in defiance of the Palestinian president's orders to disband it.”

Last month Abbas, in a presidential decree, accused Said Siyam, the Interior Minister, of acting illegally in forming the new force and appointing Jamal Abu Samhadana to lead it. The head of the new force is a founder member of the Popular Resistance Committees and has survived at least one assassination attempt by Israel.

Hamas' Interior Minister answered that the decision to form such a force conformed with the law... “which gives the minister the authority to take the necessary decisions to guarantee security.”

Clearly what we have here is a situation with a kind of dual power, with on the one hand the forces loyal to the president   whom the US and the Israeli government prefer   and on the other hand the forces loyal to the new government.

It seems that Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, was telling the truth when he said that, "Hamas force members were defending themselves after coming under attack."

This clash was not the first one since Hamas was elected in January this year and formed the new government. However, it was the most intense. In the last few weeks eight people have died in these clashes. Radaida's death has brought to eight the number of people killed in internal fighting in Gaza this month.

A few days ago, Tareq Abu Rajab, the chief of Palestinian intelligence services appointed to this job in April 2005 by the President, and one of Israel’s favourites, was taken to a hospital in Israel after being seriously injured in a blast at his Gaza headquarters Ali Abu Hassira, Abu Rajab's bodyguard and nephew, died of his wounds shortly after the explosion, and at least 15 other people were wounded in the blast

The Palestinian security sources accused Hamas. In Ramallah, Palestinian gunmen from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of Abbas's Fatah movement, broke into the parliament compound in protest against the explosion in Gaza, blaming Hamas.

The Hamas'government however denied this. Ghazi Hamad a spokesman for Hamas stated that one should not make hasty conclusion: “People should not make quick judgments and should listen to the voice of wisdom. We don't want to increase the tensions in the Palestinian street."

Abu Rajab had many enemies and it is more likely that it was not Hamas but some groups who want to provoke for such clashes, which is similar to what we are seeing in Iraq.

Following the blast, Tawfiq Tirawi, the deputy intelligence services chief, told reporters in Ramallah: “We have information that many groups are trying to target leaders of the Palestinian security forces as well as political leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.”

These groups may be connected to the Islamic Jihad that has been accusing Hamas of becoming traitors to the cause. Since Hamas took power it has indicated a few times it is ready to make peace with Israel on certain conditions. For example on Friday, April 21, 2006, Khalid Mishaal, Hamas's chief political officer, told ZDF, a German public television channel that peace with Israel is achievable only if it returns the land seized in 1967, including Jerusalem, back to Palestine. Other conditions Mishaal listed include, "the right of refugees to return as well as the dismantling of Jewish settlements, the destruction of the separation barrier and the release of all Palestinian detainees… If, and only if, Israel does this, then Hamas, Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims will be ready for true peace.”

Israel would find it much harder to fight and defeat a united Palestinian movement fighting the occupation. However, clearly neither Hamas nor Fatah, both competing to be part of the Pax Americana, are able to lead the struggle against the occupation. The rulers of Israel are close allies of US imperialism and they have made it quiet clear that under no condition will they accept Hamas as a partner in the Pax Americana.

Thus, the conclusions that we can draw are that these new clashes reflect in one way or another attempts by Israel  and the US – to provoke a civil war, hoping in this way to topple the Hamas government.

Thus once again it is clear that there is no solution within the imperialist order. The struggle against the occupation needs a very different kind of leadership, one that understands that the real enemies of the Palestinian people, and the Israeli people, are the imperialists and all the forces that are serving or want to serve the imperialist order and these include not only the Bush administration, but also the banks and the big capitalists, both Arab and Jewish. Bloody conflict serves them well as they can use it to divert the class struggle away from them and channel it into bloody ethnic conflicts. This would be a blind alley fro all the workers of the region, whichever nationality they belong to.

The only possible solution can be offered by the working class, a Socialist Federation of the Middle East where the Palestinians and the Israelis would have national territorial autonomies within a socialist federated state. To achieve this a revolutionary Marxist leadership is required.


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