Dayton: more ‘proactive’ role for U.S. in Gaza?

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Internecine fighting in the Gaza Strip has created “total anarchy” and the United States is considering a “more proactive role” in defending moderates, the top U.S. security envoy to the region said. “The legally constituted Palestinian security forces in the territories – the Presidential Guard, the National Security Forces and the Civil Police – are engaged in a battle for law and order like never before,” Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton said Wednesday in testimony to Congress. “In addition to outright aggression by Hamas militias, other smaller factions, some also backed by Iran, have conducted attacks throughout the Gaza Strip against the security forces under the authority of President Abbas, creating a situation of total anarchy and highlighting factional divisions between Fatah and Hamas, and probably within Hamas itself.” Fatah is the relatively moderate party headed by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president who was ostensibly sharing power with Hamas before fighting erupted earlier this month. Under Dayton, the United States has trained forces loyal to Abbas and provided them with non-lethal equipment. The moderate forces could need a greater U.S. commitment, Dayton suggested. “We continue to evaluate the situation and consider ways in which we can take a more proactive role in affecting the dangerous conditions and support President Abbas in his efforts to bring the lawlessness in Gaza under control,” he said.

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