It’s been almost a month since European Union foreign policy head Catherine Ashton called on the rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas to reconcile. The two groups have been openly at odds since at least 2007, when Hamas seized the Gaza Strip from Fatah in a bloody five day battle, leaving Fatah controlling only the West Bank. The two territories, both of which are claimed by Palestinians for a single Palestinian state, have since been run by two separate governments, one controlled by each faction. The dynamic complicates aspirations for a Palestinian state, inasmuch as a country governed by two rival governments is almost by definition a failed state.
Hopes for reconciliation are, as of Monday, still not faring well:
Witnesses told Ma’an that fistfights broke out between groups of students affiliated to rival Palestinian movements of Fatah and Hamas. Other students attacked each other with bats and stones before the university’s administration and security guards dispersed the students and evacuated campus. Eyewitnesses said the brawl erupted after Fatah-affiliated students affixed a poster of Dalal al-Mughrabi in a photo exhibition.
Mughrabi, whom the Fatah-affiliated students were attempting to celebrate when they were confronted by Hamas-affiliated students, is hailed by Palestinians for a 1978 attack on a Tel Aviv bus in which she and other terrorists murdered 38 Israeli civilians, among then 13 children.
Hamas is in a state that some analysts are willing to describe as “hysteria.” Its position abroad and its domestic control are both eroding, and Israel has thus far managed to stymie the group’s efforts to bolster its image with a spectacular terror attack.
Fatah partisans sense weakness and are moving to exploit it. Hamas is now resorting to torture to check the encroachment:
The Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights condemned the “arrest campaign launched by the Internal Security Service (of Hamas) against dozens of persons, including members of (the) Fatah (party) and children.” It said arrests had been stepped up to coincide with calls for demonstrations against Hamas on the anniversary of the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
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