As surprising as Christmas

In June 2004, the Gulf News reported the following:

10 leading Palestinian militant groups have called upon Egypt – and Jordan – not to interfere in the internal security affairs of Palestine. Their reasoning is that with neighbouring Arab states assisting in the security of Gaza, it will imply that it is the Palestinians who are the problem, not the Israelis.

It would do well for Egypt and Jordan to accept the violence from Palestinians is due to Israeli occupation and the heavy-handed measures meted out by its troops. Once the Israelis withdraw from the Occupied Territories and return the land to the rightful owners, there will be no need for further violence.

My comment at the time consisted in its entirety of: Let’s see shall we? Let’s just wait and see.

We need wait no longer, for Gloria Salt has been rounding up the latest news from Gaza, now free of Israel’s heavy-handed troops.

– In the first attack by Palestinians on a UN target inside the territories, gunmen descended on the United Nations Club after last night’s New Year’s celebrations, tied up the security guard, pistol-whipped him, set explosives, and blew the place up

– Fatah gunmen opened fire on the car of their own administration’s ambassador to Pakistan, Yussef al-Rabi, injuring the driver and terrorizing the ambassador and his wife, who was with him in the car. They snatched al-Rabi’s diplomatic passport, smashed the windows of the car and forced him to run for his life

– About 100 Palestinian police went “on a rampage” at the beleaguered Rafah crossing in violent protest against the clan-warfare murder of one of their colleagues

– “Dozens of gunmen” besieged a Palestinian police station in Gaza to forcibly free a friend, and in the process accidentally killed a 14-year-old Palestinian boy

– a passionately pro-Palestinian British aid worker and her visiting parents were kidnapped at gunpoint and held until their kidnappers “receiv[ed] assurances that Britain and the European Union would seek an end to the Israeli buffer zone”, a no-go area in the northern Gaza Strip that the gunmen find inconvenient

– foreign election monitors were forcibly thrown out of their Nablus hotel by a group of Fatah gunmen

– warnings were issued by said gunmen to any other lingering foreign election monitors to get out of town

– Fatah gunmen occupied several government buildings in Gaza, demanding “jobs and money”

– Fatah gunmen blockaded the Rafah border crossing and stated that they will forcibly prevent foreigners from crossing until further notice

No need for further violence, eh? Gloria has more:

Today’s embarrassment was the storming of the Rafah crossing into Egypt – only just handed over to the Palestinians – by about 100 irate, weapons-wielding Palestinian policemen. They were upset by the murder of one of their number in an intra-Palestinian family feud. In a collective action that I don’t think is in the playbook of too many police forces, they demanded that the perpetrator be seized and immediately executed. The EU observers on the spot at Rafah did the logical thing: they hightailed it to the nearest Israeli army base until the mess blew over.

Murderous family feuds, policemen running amok, election offices stormed and robbed, gangs ruling local streets in Nablus and Tulkarem: this is the face of Fatah, and its purported leader is a well-coiffed empty suit.

Remember, neighbouring states should keep their noses out. To do otherwise would imply that it is the Palestinians who are the problem, not the Israelis.

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