10 Oct 2010

Moon over Gaza


News Reports:

[ Shiite Iran now impacting the future of Palestinians]

Clinton says Iran continues to 'undermine' Palestinian Authority - F24
Hamas police open fire at Fatah rally: six dead - Telegraph
Gazans Pray Outside, Defying Warnings by Hamas - NYT
Arabs turn against 'megalomaniac' Hamas - The Australian


FRANCE 24 - Television News Network in Paris.

March 4, 2009


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of interference by urging Muslims to join the Palestinian "resistance" against Israel.

She said Khamanei's remarks were "clear interference in the internal affairs of the Palestinian people, continuing efforts on the part of the Iranians to undermine the Palestinian Authority."

Earlier Wednesday, Khamenei said in an address to open a two-day global summit Tehran organised in aid of Gaza and the Palestinians that "the only way to save Palestine is resistance.

"Support and help to Palestinians is a mandatory duty of all Muslims. I now tell all Muslim brothers and sisters to join forces and break the immunity of the Zionist criminals."

Photo: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of continuing to "undermine the Palestinian Authority," by calling Muslims to join the "resistance" against Israel.


[Fath and Hamas clash among accusations that Gaza is turning Iranwards.]

Telegraph - 12 November 2007

Hamas police open fire at Fatah rally: six dead

Six people were killed after Hamas-controlled police opened fire on a Fatah rally in Gaza City today in some of the worst violence seen since the Islamist movement took control of the Gaza Strip five months ago.

While the Fatah leadership in Gaza was routed back in June the movement was still able to mobilise tens of thousands for a rally to mark the third anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader.

But the sight of a yelling mob waving posters depicting the Fatah founder and shouting insults against Hamas was always going to risk provoking the heavily armed members of Hamas's "executive force" who were recently renamed as police.

At one point the crowd began to shout "Shi'ite, Shi'ite" as an insult against Hamas which enjoys strong links with the Shia Islamic republic in Iran. Palestinians belong to the rival Sunni sect of Islam.

It is not clear if they were fired on first from inside the crowd but it is known that six members of the crowd died and at least 130 were wounded, mostly from injuries suffered in the resulting stampede.

Palestinian television showed groups of protesters and armed men running through the streets and police beating a Fatah supporter with wooden batons.

The killings plunged relations between Fatah and Hamas to new depths with the leader of the Fatah parliamentary bloc saying there would be no renewal of negotiations between the rivals.

"There will be no dialogue and no discussions with the killers and coup-makers of Hamas, no dialogue with those who do not believe in dialogue but only understand the language of blood and murder," Azzam Ahmed said.

"I am convinced the Palestinian people will purge them from their ranks and that the blood of today's martyrs will be fuel for the resistance against them."

In a statement issued by Hamas the movement claimed Fatah gunmen fired at the demonstrators, but people at the rally said they saw no evidence of this. Instead, they said it appeared the Hamas police simply opened fire.

Palestinians across the occupied territories are now more divided now than at any point in their history with Fatah in control of only a few pockets of the West Bank ceded to them by agreements brokered with Israel in the 1990s.

Gaza remains firmly in the hands of Hamas.

The deaths marred a long weekend of events to commemorate Arafat's death on Nov 11 2004.

On Saturday a mausoleum and mosque were opened at the site of his grave in the West Bank town of Ramallah although Palestinians from across the political spectrum said they hope one day he is reinterred in Jerusalem.


THE NEW YORK TIMES - 1 September 2007

Gazans Pray Outside, Defying Warnings by Hamas


Defying warnings from Hamas, several thousand Gazans prayed outside mosques on Friday in a Fatah-inspired protest.

As Hamas police officers and gunmen watched, a large crowd prayed in a large public square in Gaza City during Friday Prayer, responding to a call from Fatah to stay out of the mosques. In a statement, Fatah accused Hamas of ''exploiting mosques to inflame tensions and provocations among factions.'' Israel, similarly, regularly accuses Hamas of using Friday Prayer to incite hatred of Israel and Jews.

Dozens of young men shouted ''Shiites, Shiites,'' a common insult to Hamas, which receives some support from Shiite-dominated Iran. Palestinians are mostly Sunni Muslims.

After prayers, there was an organized anti-Hamas march and clashes with uniformed Hamas gunmen, some of whom tried to disperse the crowd by firing in the air and beating some people with sticks. About 10 protesters were lightly wounded, some when a stun grenade detonated in the crowd. The grenade also wounded a French journalist in the hand.

A similar demonstration was held in the southern town of Rafah, where as many as 5,000 people attended outdoor prayers. There, stones were thrown at the home of a prominent Hamas figure, and Hamas police officers used stun grenades and fired into the air.

This week Hamas sent text messages to a number of cellphones. The message said, according to Agence France-Presse: ''Attending prayers with Fatah will cause you a lot of problems and we advise you to pray elsewhere. You don't deserve to be hit, arrested or killed for a corrupt gang that you know well.''

Fatah, which Hamas drove from power in Gaza in fierce fighting in June, has been trying to organize its supporters there and has clearly focused on Friday Prayer. Hamas has cracked down on Fatah-affiliated newspapers and news media outlets in Gaza, as Fatah has cracked down on Hamas-affiliated news media in the West Bank. This week, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced that the offices of 103 charitable organizations, mostly affiliated with Hamas, would be shut down for violating the law; Hamas has protested.

The Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said that weekly prayers were being exploited for political ends and accused protesters of ''defiling the sanctity of worship,'' but Fahmi al-Zahrir, a Fatah spokesman in the West Bank, said the protests would continue.

Also on Friday, the Israeli military said that three children killed on Wednesday in northern Gaza by Israeli fire were not retrieving a rocket launcher, as first announced, but were simply playing tag nearby. The three young cousins -- Mahmoud Ghazal, 10; Sara Ghazal, 10; and Yehiya Ghazal, 12 -- became targets when they were seen near the empty launcher and touching it, the army said in a statement.

It said that ''at the very last second it was apparent that they were children, but it was impossible to stop the explosion.'' The statement did not say whether they had been shot from the air or the ground.

The army expressed regret, after first accusing Palestinian militants of using the children to retrieve the empty launchers. On Friday, it blamed the militants for having fired rockets from civilian areas.

In Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, the army also shot and badly wounded a gunman from Fatah's Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades.

Also on Friday, off Haifa, Israeli divers retrieved the bodies of two sailors, a Ukrainian and the Indonesian captain, from their sunken cargo ship after it was rammed accidentally Thursday night by a Cypriot passenger liner, Salamis Glory, carrying 700 passengers and crew members. Eleven crew members escaped the Israeli-owned cargo ship, which was anchored two miles from the Israeli coast when it was hit. There was little damage to the liner.


The Australian - 1 January 2009

Arabs turn against 'megalomaniac' Hamas


THE bitter Israel-Hamas conflict has touched off Arab-Arab conflicts almost as bitter.

Responsibility for the war in Gaza, and for the Palestinian fatalities there, was placed squarely on Hamas by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"We called the leaders of Hamas and told them, 'Please, do not end the truce'," he said. Hamas ended a six-month truce with Israel two weeks before the Israeli attack.

An Abbas aide, Nimr Hammad, termed the rocket fire into Israel reckless. "The one responsible for the massacre is Hamas," he said. "Hamas should not have given the Israelis a pretext."

Bassam Abu-Sumayyah, a columnist for the daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, accused Hamas of megalomania and said it had acted without even a little bit of political and security sense. It had behaved like a superpower.

"They thought they have a number of missiles and can therefore prevail in a war of such size," he wrote.

A columnist for the PA daily Al-Ayyam, Abdallah Awwad, said that Hamas had made a major mistake in trying to be both a government operating in the open and a resistance organisation that operated underground. "We are paying the price of stupidity and the maniacal

love of being rulers," he said.

Beyond intra-Palestinian disputes, the eruption in Gaza has widened the rift between Egypt, supported by other moderate Arab states, and the Hamas-Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alignment.

Cairo has long feared the radical influence of Hamas on its own Islamist parties. It regards Hamas as a proxy for Iran, which it sees attempting to wrest Muslim leadership in the Middle East from Egypt, even though Iran is not an Arab country.

However, Egypt attempted to broker a reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority that would permit a leadership acceptable to all Palestinians to emerge in new elections. Hamas derailed the proposal, to Egypt's fury.

Egypt, in turn, refused to open the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt to Gaza residents, even during the Israeli attack when many Gazans were clamouring to get out. This infuriated Hamas and caused anti-Egyptian protests in much of the Arab world.

For Egypt, the most annoying criticism came from Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the formidable leader of the Hezbollah in Lebanon. Addressing Egyptian citizens, particularly army officers, Nasrallah called on them to protest at Cairo's lack of response to the Israeli attack.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said of Nasrallah's speech: "(He) practically declared war on us." As for Nasrallah's appeal to Egyptian officers, Mr Gheit said of Egypt's army: "They will also protect Egypt against people like you."


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