Friday, December 15, 2006

Escalation in the Palestinian Territories

Fighting at a Hamas rally in the West Bank

My travel plans today will unfortunately prevent me from posting on the explosive atmosphere in the Palestinian territories. Suffice it to say that the alleged targeting of returning Palestinian Prime Minister Ismai'il Haniyya's car by gunmen associated with Fateh (Hamas spokespeople actually accused Abu Mazen's Presidential Guard or "Force 17") could well be the trigger that set off a Palestinian civil war in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank. In my opinion, the events of the next 24 hours are going to be crucial. If Hamas intends to launch a full-out war against Fateh - many of its spokespeople are publicly accusing Abu Mazen of complicity in the recent events and there are rumors that a number of Fateh members in the Gaza Strip, including Muhammad Dahlan, are now on a Hamas hit-list - then they would probably start their campaign after Friday prayers (around noon their time).

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