Apparently there are worse things than "occupation."
After fighting erupted with their fellow Palestinian group Hamas, Gaza fighters for the Fatah faction of the PLO went running for protection to the Israeli border. They are among about 600 Gazans stuck at the Erez Crossing from northern Gaza into Israel. Only those with VIP status were being allowed to cross into Israel. The rank and file are stuck without food, water, or toilets waiting since June 16 or 17 in the crossing’s long concrete corridor while Israeli courts and human rights activists exercise themselves over their enemies’ fate.
Reality has a way of forcing the truth out into the open. After decades of terrorist war against Israel, Gazans know they are better off begging Israel for admission rather than facing the reality of Iranian-backed Hamas’ Islamist rule. About 700 meters behind them is a hastily-built Hamas checkpoint, where Hamas terrorists—now ruling over Gaza—wave away late-comers and await any Fatah terrorists who give up hope. On June 20, Israeli tanks moved to positions at the Gaza end of the corridor to forestall any Hamas bloodbath.
In May and June, Gaza Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan—once touted as the tough PLO security chief who could hold up the PLO’s end of the 1993 Oslo bargain and keep the Islamists in check—was conveniently in Egypt for medical treatment (of his knees, no less). Other Fatah leaders, who had no problem ordering teenagers and women to blow themselves up, had second thoughts when it came to achieving “martyrdom” themselves. They headed out of Gaza in the weeks or days before the final five days of combat.
As the fighting headed for a showdown, lower level Fatah operatives found themselves abandoned by their own leaders. Between June 11-16, Fatah resistance collapsed. Hamas terrorists found themselves controlling Fatah’s torture chambers and other Gaza government installations. Dozens of surrendering Fatah fighters were reportedly executed by Hamas. Hamas terrorists rummaged through PLO offices and the homes of Dahlan and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. They claim to have found many records which could be embarrassing to Fatah. In an ironic final act of the disaster spawned by the misnamed Oslo peace process, Hamas terrorists even swiped Yasser Arafat’s Nobel Peace prize medallion from his luxurious seaside villa.
The Jerusalem Post of June 24 reports that Hamas did not expect or plan to win in Gaza against the numerically and technically superior Fatah forces.
(Hamas spokesman Ayman) Taha claimed that Hamas and Fatah were on the verge of signing a cease-fire agreement with the Fatah leadership, which chose to order its men to either surrender or abandon their bases.
“…(PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas) issued instructions to his security forces to retreat and hand over their bases to Hamas.”
Taha also revealed that on the eve of the ostensible cease-fire, Abbas phoned Syria-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and informed him that Fatah was going to surrender and hand over the Gaza Strip to Hamas.
With Hamas out of the PA government, the cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed Sunday June 24 to re-open the cash spigot of PA taxes collected by Israel. Israel has withheld transfer of $550 million in PA taxes collected since Hamas won the January 2006 PA elections.
Gaza wasn’t always like this. Back in what now must seem like the halcyon days of Israeli "occupation," tens of thousands of Gazans held jobs in Israel. Thousands more worked within Gaza in Israeli-owned factories. Violence was far less than it has been in recent years or months. But a weakening of Israeli resistance to Islamic fascism was shown during the first “Intifada” leading to the 1993 Oslo Peace talks. Muslims, sensing opportunity, formed new factions to contest for power. The fighting gradually escalated, wearing Gaza down into what is now a seaside Hell dependent entirely on outside charity for food, and now for fuel.
Storage tanks ran dry almost immediately as gasoline supplies were cut off when Hamas took power June 16. According to the International Herald Tribune: “Asef Hamdi, a worker at a Gaza gas station, feared what the end of the fuel shipments would mean a return to the stone age. ‘The results will be Gaza in full darkness, with no cars,’ he said. ‘In simple words...welcome to the Taliban lifestyle,’ a reference to Afghanistan under fundamentalist Islamic rule.”
Hamdi is not the only one to sense the coming nightmare. In a message to Gazans, on June 17 Islamists tore down Gaza City’s “Unknown Soldier” statue. Representations of people are forbidden under Islam. Although the rule is not particularly important—millions of Muslims violate it every day—the display of enforcing it is very significant. After doing what they do best—cutting off its head—the Islamists dumped the rest of the statue in Gaza City’s Palestine Square—a major bus transfer point where thousands of people are likely to see it. Abu Mohammed, a park worker told IHT: "Even in Iran, they have statues."
Hamas does not get Fatah’s money, but it does get them 1.5 million people, including many children, to continue brainwashing into future homicide bombers. The separation may also clear the way for Hamas to receive more assistance from its masters in Iran and Syria.
The Fatah-Hamas deal expands Shia power. With the defeat of the USSR in Afghanistan and the weak pre-9/11 responses by America to Islamist terror attacks, more Muslims are coming to believe that the time to take power is now. This increases the urgency of the Shia-Sunni battle. As Iran builds nukes, Iranian backed groups are warring for power in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Sudan as well as in the PA.
Deeply concerned about the Shia threat, Egypt and Jordan are meeting with Abbas and Olmert to bolster the PA. Commenting on the summit, AP reports “Ismail Haniyeh, the deposed Palestinian prime minister, dismissed the summit as a ‘mirage,’ saying resistance was the only hope for Palestinians.” Haniyeh is not far off. Fatah is a mirage. As Israel and the West give it more financial support it will become weaker and its leaders more corrupt. When the Fatah mirage finally evaporates, Islamists will control all of the PA territories and will have all of the Israeli and western finances not stolen by Fatah leaders. This is precisely what has happened in Gaza.
Those jamming the Erez crossing are not the only Gazans trying to escape the logic of their religion. Another 5000 Gazans jam the closed Rafah crossing into Egypt. According to an Associated Press article by Sarah al Deeb in Gaza and Karin Laub in Ramallah, “A Fatah leader in the West Bank, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the matter, said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was not interested in having Gazans stream out of the coastal strip and leave it an undilu ted Hamas stronghold.” Hamas is also working to keep its slaves; gunmen have reportedly been deployed along the Gaza-Egypt border, just as they are at Erez. Assisting in population control, the Fatah-controlled PA Has voided all Gaza-issued PA Passports.
In what is likely a ploy to appeal to soft-headed American Democrats, Hamas’ ousted PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has allegedly ordered the release of BBC reporter, Alan Johnston, held in Gaza since March 12 by a shadowy Islamist terror group. But according to Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum orders from Fatah are keeping him captive in an effort to block a Hamas’ publicity coup.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas condemns the Hamas head-choppers as “coup-plotters” and “murderous terrorists.” Fatah terrorists beg for Israeli protection after being abandoned by their leaders. But Hamas is finding some friends in the Democrat Party and its media. Safety fears may have kept Western journalists from operating in Gaza since the abduction Johnson, but that hasn’t stopped the New York Times and the Washington Post from serving as Hamas mouthpieces, printing a carefully crafted June 21 statement appealing for support from U.S. liberals and leftists.
Failed ex-President Jimmy Carter and Democrat presidential wannabe Dennis Kucinich have answered Hamas’ call. They agree that the Hamas takeover is connected to the cut-off of funding to the PA. In response they have joined calls by Hawaii Rep. Neil Abercrombie for American funding of Islamist terror.
The scene at Erez Crossing should put on full display the reality Carter, Kucinich, Abercrombie, the Times, and the Post are unwilling to face. Even Fatah terrorists know Hamas is nothing but a gang of murderous thugs. Western leftists who work themselves into rhetorical pretzels on Hamas’ behalf are fools.