a tense calm, but who's to blame?
There is a tense calm holding in Gaza. But tense or not, people couldn't care less, so long as they feel safe walking the streets now.
Over the past week, street battles were waged with automatic weapons, rocket propelled grenades and even mortars between members supportive of both factions, and often, plainclothes residents with a score to settle, like the Dogmosh family, leaving most residents holed inside their homes or fleeing for safety. Even making it to the corner convenience store became a challenge.
Universities cancelled their classes and most stores closed shop. Many parents even stopped sending their children to school.
But almost overnight, all this changed, as members of the Hamas Executive Force and Abbas's countless security forces that were previously deployed throughout the city were withdrawn.
The question most people on the outside keep asking is: who is fighting whom and why? Its a question who's answer even locals are unsure of. Often the "cards" as it were, are mixed, and those actually doing the fighting are embedded in gang/mafia/clan warfare, with members operating under factional cover, as with the most recent spate of violence.
And in the absence of rule of law, sovereignty, security, and most importantly, authority, it devolves into a cycle of revenge that is characterized as "factional".
But there is also another element to all this. With the enthusiastic help of the CIA, Abbas has recruited, equipped, and trained a new presidential force expected to number 3000 men, whose salaries are paid in full.
And this week, Congress is expected to pass a bill sanctioning $US90 million in "special" aid to the presidential guard.
Blair went a step further, suggesting that the Palestinian tax revenues now being held by Israel (amounting to $52 million monthly) should be routed to Abbas. He then naively (or intentionally...) said that "care should be taken to ensure that the money went only to legitimate security forces and not militias".
The reason I say naive is bgecause more often than not, as anyone here will tell you, these forces are one and the same.
Again, none of this surprises me. We are a failed state, before we can even became a state. Can anything else be expected given the severe conditions under which the society has been placed? The first time in history, according to teh UN,that an occupied people have been subject to sanctions, especially sanctions of this rigor and magnitude? THe answer may seem obvious to some, but I am always surprised there is not MORE internal fighting given the situation. I guess at the very least, we have that to be thankful for.