A Fatah meeting in the town of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, was violently disrupted by Hamas police on Saturday 8 March. Fatah members gathered in remembrance of martyrs who fell during the Intifada. About twenty people got arrested, but were released after a short while.
Hamas spokesman of the Gaza interior ministry, Iyad al-Buzm said “A group of Fatah supporters organized an activity in Khan Younis without contacting police for approval, and that is a breach of the law and obvious attempt to bring security chaos back". He added that officers who were brought in to enforce the law where attacked. Another spokesman for the interior ministry, Islam Shahwan, said that all people who got arrested were released after signing a document which stated they would not to take part in further unauthorized meetings.
However, Fatah spokesman, Hassan Ahmad, told journalist that the arrests had been made without just cause. He said Fatah members were brutally beaten. The incident is the latest in a series of incidents between Hamas and Fatah.
Discord in Palestine
The Palestinian Territories have been divided between two rivaling political movements. The secular central-left Palestinian movement Fatah is in power in the West Bank. The Islamist movement Hamas governs in the Gaza Strip. Both movements rival over the future of the Palestinian Territories. Fatah wants Palestine to become a moderate Arabian republic, whereas Hamas wants Palestine to become an Islamic state.
In 2006 Hamas won the Palestinian elections, but was forced to accept a government of national unity and to recognize the state of Israel, which it refused. Hamas and Fatah started fighting and a civil war broke out in 2007. The Palestinian Authority dismissed Hamas and gave their seats to Fatah. Hamas violently took control of the Gaza Strip and Fatah remained in control over the West Bank.
Another factor of discord is Israel. Hamas demands the dissolution of Israel and the movement is regarded as an terrorist organization by the West, while it finds support among Arabic nations. Fatah on the other hand, is in favor of peace talks with Israel and wants coexistence.
Fatah and Hamas reached an agreement in the Qatari capital Doha in 2012 on forming an interim government and fixing a date for general elections for the Palestinian Territories. The European Union welcomed the agreement, seeing it as a step toward an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Israel, however, condemned the agreement, saying there could be no peace with a government that included Hamas. The implementation of the Doha agreement, and the Cairo follow-up agreement, failed.
As the implementation of the Doha agreement failed, the stalemate between Fatah and Hamas continues.
Author: Koen Migchelbrink