Dangers of Expanding Conflict in Palestinian Territories

  • 17 September 2007

There are many indicators, which confirm that the conflicts witnessed in the occupied Palestinian territories between Hamas and Fatah could widen in scope and involve other Islamic and patriotic factions like Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Few days ago, deputy secretary of the Popular Front Abdul Rahim Molawah strongly criticized Hamas by accused it of targeting the PFLP in Gaza in a systematic manner. In statements made to the media, he said that leaders of the “Front” in Gaza were being subjected to heinous attacks. He also alleged that the party’s radio station was forcibly closed and its equipment and devices seized. Meanwhile, a silent conflict seems to be brewing between Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and the two sides have exchanged bitter and acrimonious statements at each other in the last few days. The Saraya Al-Quds, the military branch of the Islamic Jihad, recently rejected the call made by Ismail Haniyeh—the dismissed prime minister—to stop targeting Israeli crossings during the holy month of Ramadan. The Saraya Al-Quds also declared that it would not stop launching missiles and mortars in the direction of Israeli crossings, bordering the Gaza Strip. The spokesman of the Saraya Al-Quds, Abu Hamza confirmed that all crossings and bordering areas will be targeted by the missiles of the Palestinian resistance. He added that the Saraya Al-Quds would not be deterred by sundry calls (referring to the call made by Haniyeh) in the wake of the assaults on Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip by Israel and its army.

Undoubtedly, the circle of confrontation in the occupied Palestinian Territories is expanding, and could involve other political factions that would further endanger the Palestinian cause. Unquestionably, it would cause more misery to the besieged Palestinian people, as Palestinian factions subvert their conflict with Israel into an inter-Palestinian strife. This would cause more Palestinian bloodshed and would adversely affect the life of the average citizen, especially in the Gaza Strip that is enduring the hardships of an economic blockade that has led to a sharp decline in living conditions.

It is a shame that this intense conflict in the occupied territories, which is showing increasing signs of escalation, is taking place at a critical time of preparations for the upcoming peace conference in Washington, which was called by US President George Bush. This conference underscores the need for Palestinians to settle their differences and enter the peace process as a unified bloc, and not as several feuding factions, whose negative implications would be needless to explain.

Therefore, all political forces on the Palestinian scene should push for an immediate end to their differences so that a new national reconciliation is able to protect Palestinians from greater disasters caused by their conflicts and divisions, especially at this critical moment faced by the Palestinian people and their cause.