Monday, April 24, 2006

Hamas vs. Fatah... There can be only one!

Talk about choosing the lesser of two evils...

BEIRUT, Lebanon, April 24 (UPI) -- The simmering Fatah-Hamas row blew open as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused the militant group of seeking to incite internal strife.

In an interview with Jordan's daily al-Rai, reproduced Monday in Beirut's al-Mustaqbal newspaper, Abbas bluntly accused Hamas Politburo chief Khaled Meshaal of acts that would lead to civil strife.

"The Palestinian Authority rejects strife and will not accept any form of civil war regardless of who is behind it or its motivator," Abbas said in an obvious reply to a speech made by Meshaal in Damascus last week during which he attacked Abbas' Fatah Movement.

Abbas called on Palestinians "to steer away from even thinking about civil war because that will only result in harming the just Palestinian cause and will affect only the patient people attached to their land."

Abbas also stressed that the Palestinian Authority is keen on preserving its close relations with Jordan, in response to Amman's accusations that Hamas was smuggling arms to Jordan and monitoring vital targets.

"We will not accept that Jordan be harmed in any way whether the harm is small or big because Jordan constitutes our strategic depth," Abbas said.

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mousa commented from Cairo on the Hamas-Fatah row, calling it "most revolting."

If these "acts that will lead to civil strife" include blowing up innocent civilians and creating a special terrorist security branch, then we really need to work on Abbas vocabulary. I would think blowing up innocent people would be higher on the moral outrage scale than "possibly resulting in civil strife."

But that's just me...

UPDATE @ 12:13pm: More from the WaPo as Hamas' terrorist activities continue to bite them in the ass.

The current paychecks are already three weeks late, and next week another monthly salary is due, with no relief in sight, reinforcing Abbas' warning.

"The constitution gives me clear and definite authority to remove a government from power, but I don't want to use this authority. Everyone should know that by law this power is in my hands," Abbas said in the interview with CNN-Turk, recorded before he arrived in Turkey on Sunday.

Hamas reacted angrily, threatening to call off a 15-month truce brokered by Abbas that greatly reduced Israeli-Palestinian violence after five years of bloodshed.

A senior Hamas official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the group would "not leave in silence."

"We will not participate in any new election and we will go underground as we did before and we will not adhere to any commitments, any truce, by anyone," he said.

By electing Hamas, the Palestinians have just about screwed themselves, and Palestinian politics is beginning to look a lot more volatile...