Chaos and uncertainty in Gaza
It was all-out chaos in Gaza city yesterday, as factional infighting claimed the lives of three teenage boys after drawn out battles between security forces and Hamas activists in northern Gaza spread to the city (just a street down from my house), keeping most residents indoors on Friday, and Israeli helicopter gunships left 6 Hamas men dead.
Within the span of 24 hours, it seemed like all hell had broken loose here, and things reverted back to the way they were 5 months ago: the Strip has been split into three, dividing families all over; Rafah crossing, an official just told me, has been once again sealed off to Palestinian men and boys between the ages of 16-35; and tanks are massing near Jabaliya preparing for an offensive.
In the midst of all this, my family and I went out to visit and congratulate a cousin of mine who passed his Tawjihi exams, and Yousuf got a chance to play with the ducks and geese they keep in their backyard (childhood...eh?). Their house is located a block over from the site yesterday's assassination. The streets were eerily empty, save for Palestinian police officers attempting to "keep the peace", corondoning off certain streets and directing traffic. Smoke from burning tires, which is said to "blind" the all-seeing eye of the unmanned Israeli drone, filled the air, a practice usually reserved for refugee camps, and the site of Israeli offensives, like Jabaliya and Rafah.
Today, in scenes reminiscent of of a few months ago, funeral processions for yesterday's victims were held. Thousands of Palestinians marched through the streets from different factions in a show of solidarity, as Hamas activists vowed revenge by way of more Qassam rockets on the settlements.
Analysts and officials I've spoken to insist the "truce" (if this is a truce...) is not in tatters, and tha neither side, strategically speaking, will want to officially abandon it. At the same time, neither side is defining its "red line". Its simply easier to be vague, politially speaking, I guess.
We can only wait and see what will happen tonight.