Gaza: Civil war?
Photo: AP

‘Save your bullets for the enemy’

On the Palestinian street people refuse to term Gaza violence a civil war, even after at least 6 more were killed Thursday in ‘inter-factional violence’. Palestinian residents call to stop the fire, fear escalating chaos

As Hamas and Fatah gunfire raged in the Dahiya neighborhood in Gaza City, Amina Abu Sahar walked into the street Thursday night and cried out, “Stop the fire! Palestinians shooting Palestinians…”


“What has happened to us? Save your bullets for the enemies. What a disgrace,” she said through tears.


Abu Sahar is not alone. Many of the “simple people” on the Palestinian street feel the same, feel despair over the escalating chaos.


On the Palestinian street, people still refuse to term the events of the past day a civil war. Official spokespeople chose more military definitions, such as “confrontations between rival factions.” But after the death toll rose to six victims, including a senior security commander, plus dozens of wounded, it is clear to all that these are legitimate confrontations in a governmental power struggle.


Every violent incident results in threats, revenge, and in the end – more casualties. Every day there is renewed drama. Today the drama was broadcast to residents of all of Gaza when chief of the Preventive Security Service in northern Gaza Col. Mohammed Ghayeb was killed when Hamas militants laid siege to his house. Ghayeb’s killing was expected to trigger revenge attacks by the men under his command.

Fatah gunman (Photo: AFP)


Ghayeb was on the phone to Palestine TV just moments before his death and appealed for help as his house came under attack. "They are killers," He said of the Hamas gunmen. "They are targeting the house, children are dying, they are bleeding. For God's sake, send an ambulance, we want an ambulance, somebody move."


The battle outside the house raged for much of the day and killed four of Ghayeb's guards and a Hamas gunman. About three dozen people, including eight children, were also wounded.


Now, all fear further escalations, which are likely to rise if public representatives are counted among the casualties. The concerns are not unrealistic – Wednesday an RPG missile was fired at the home of senior Fatah official Sufian Abu-Zaida, although he was not killed.


This could be the reason as well why Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called on the sides to do all possible to bring the fighting to a halt. “These confrontations must stop, this slaughter must end. Let us love one another, let us solve our disagreements through dialogue and not weapons. Our weapons should be directed only at the Israeli occupation,” he said.


News agencies contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 01.05.07, 02:38
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