Feature: First anniversary of Hamas' Gaza takeover passes in silence
www.chinaview.cn 2008-06-14 23:55:15   Print

    by Saud Abu Ramadan

    GAZA, June 14 (Xinhua) -- "When I was coming from Khan Younis town to Gaza city, I noticed heavy deployment of Hamas police forces with riot gear all the way up to the city," said Suzan Aabed, a 25-year-old employee from southern Gaza Strip who works in the private sector in Gaza city.

    Suzan, who comes from southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis to her work in Gaza city everyday, said at first she thought this deployment was intended to maintain the security as high school students started final exams.

    But soon she realized that today marks the first anniversary of the takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas.

    "When they deployed to provide security for the students a few days ago, they did not wear helmets and flack jacket nor hold sticks," Suzan added.

    On the same day a year ago, Hamas completed its control on the coastal Strip after bitter fighting with rival Fatah movement, led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

    On her half-hour trip to her work, Suzan said she saw many checkpoints set by Hamas police in Saladin road, which extends across the Strip, to prevent Fatah supporters from marking the event that they deem a coup.

    Hamas used to call the takeover "a military settlement," indicating their cutting off with Fatah movement which "aligned with Israel and the United States and carried out plans to topple Hamas."

    Islam Shahwan, a spokesman for Hamas police, admitted that "there was a decision to ban any activity" against what Hamas has carried out last June.

    He added that no attempts to mark the event by Fatah supporters and the employees of pro-Abbas forces were registered.

    "The instructions so far are not clear despite the banning decision, but we will deal with any incident according to its nature," Shahwan said.

    He said that the police "was not interested in giving any imprisonment" and they would remind the people of the incidents that happened last July when more than 400 Palestinians, mostly security men affiliated with Abbas' forces, were killed during the fighting with Hamas.

    When the Gaza battles started, Hamas was heading a coalition government with Fatah after wining parliamentary elections in January 2006.

    Following the incidents, Abbas fired the unity government and formed a western-backed administration based in Ramallah, leading to the political struggle between Hamas, which rejected its dismissal order, and the new government led by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

    A member of pro-Abbas forces, who now receives salary from Ramallah without going to work under Hamas command, said they will not mark the "coup" anniversary for fear of an attack.

    The 21-year-old youth, who asked his name to be withheld, said he and his friends have planned to express their depression by wearing black cloths on this day and raising black flags out of their windows. But later they retreated.

    "We were afraid of detention and we canceled the idea in order to give a chance for our President's call for dialogue."

    A few days ago, Abbas called for national dialogue with Hamas to end the political division between Gaza and West Bank. Over the past year, Abbas rejected talks with Hamas unless the Islamic movement gives up its control of Gaza. 

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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