Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Sunday, May 13, 2007

No End In Sight

I've said this before. The two state solution is dead in the water so long as the PA lacks a cohesive government. Once again the militant arms of the two competing political factions hold sway.

Egyptian mediators helped Palestinian factions agree to a ceasefire after one of the bloodiest days in the Palestinian Authority in recent months.

At least four Palestinians were killed and 25 were wounded in clashes between Hamas and Fatah militiamen in different parts of the Gaza Strip on Sunday.

The fighting was said to be the worst since the two parties agreed to the formation of a unity government in Mecca in February.

Those killed included Suleiman al-Ishi, a senior editor of the new Falasteen daily. Another journalist from the paper, Muhammad Abdo, was seriously wounded.

Witnesses said the two were kidnapped by Fatah gunmen near the Ansar area, west of Gaza City, and shot at close range.

Sunday's violence began shortly after the assassination of Baha Abu Jarad, a senior commander of Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, in the northern Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Authority security sources said Abu Jarad, who has long been on Israel's list of wanted terrorists, was gunned down by unidentified gunmen as he drove his pickup truck in Beit Lahiya.

Tawfik al-Bodi, a bodyguard accompanying Abu Jarad, was also killed in the attack.

Nicknamed Al-Saker (The Eagle), Abu Jarad, 34, was also an officer in the PA's Preventive Security Service. In 2004, he escaped an Israeli assassination attempt.

Abu Jarad was wanted by Hamas for his involvement in the assassination of Majed Abu Darabiyeh, 40, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip who was gunned down in front of his wife and children late last year.

Fatah militiamen and officials accused Hamas of being behind the assassination of Abu Jarad and vowed to avenge his killing.

"Hamas is lying about the killing of Abu Jarad," said Fatah spokesman Maher Miqdad. "We reject their attempt to justify the cowardly assassination of our colleague. They want their armed thugs and murderers to continue roaming the streets of the Gaza Strip, pursuing their crimes against Fatah."