The enemy of my enemy…

Some seemingly strange events have unfolded over the last few days in and around Gaza.

Fighting between Hamas and a Fatah-linked clan in the strip prompted Israel to allow 180 Palestinians – some of them suspected terrorists – to escape from Gaza into Israel. Then Israel had to figure out what to do with them, since the Fatah leadership in the West Bank wasn’t much interested in them.

The New York Times’ Ethan Bronner offers an in-depth look at the story.

Here’s what Sufian Abu Zaida, a Fatah lawmaker, had to say about it:

“When a person is faced with the choice of being killed by his own people or arrested by his enemy, he will prefer to be arrested by his enemy,” he told Israeli Army Radio. “And this gives you a pretty good picture of how bad and cruel the situation is in Gaza.”

In Abu Dhabi’s The National, Ayman Safadi writes that the infighting among the Palestinians is likely to continue:

The in-fighting is fuelled by an unbridgeable ideological divide and the argument is over who should lead the Palestinians and to what end. The Palestinian people are caught in the middle of this fight. As if living under occupation were not painful enough, they have had to endure the horrors of this internal war.

But neither Fatah nor Hamas is able to end their suffering. Abbas is too weak to bring his people the peace that they have been denied. Israel has made a mockery of him as it paralyses the peace process. Hamas, on the other hand, is not able to meet the basic needs of Gaza’s residents, mainly because of Israel’s closure of the Strip. And while Abbas makes promises he cannot keep, Hamas lives on slogans devoid of practical value.

For its part, the Jerusalem Post finds Hamas and Fatah six of one, half a dozen of the other:

Trying to distinguish between the good guys and the bad in the latest bout of Gaza fighting is bit like trying to decide who to hire as a babysitter – the Boston Strangler or Jack the Ripper.

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