Hamas And Fatah Clash In Gaza

Fatah and Hamas supporters clashed in Gaza for the first time in months resulting in the death of a least six people. The fighting came after President Abbas had made a conciliatory speech urging an end to the impasse between the two groups. “There is no way for any party here to be an alternative to the other, and there is no reason for terms like coup or military takeover, but only for dialogue.” However, the head of the Palestine Authority was clear that Hamas must turn over control to Fatah if the two groups are to find common accord in the difficult months ahead.

Abbas made an important gesture by offering to end rancor and attacks on his opponents. He undoubtedly angered the Bush administration which seeks to isolate Hamas and keep them out of the dialogue for peace. Hamas won the votes of many Palestinians and their voice must be heard in discussions leading to peace between Israel and Palestinians. Isolation of discordant voices never works.

On another note, there are reports of Turkey working in a mediating role between Israel and Syria in order to resolve the Golan Heights issue. This is simply another example of why opposing groups should be talking rather than engaging in verbal fights.