Things are grim here in Gaza City. During the day, few shops opt to stay open anymore, and at night, the city is transformed into a ghost town. And then the shooting begins. Tonight, in addition to the usual machine gun banter, we also heard a large unexplained explosion-it appears a mortar attack in northern Gaza near the Mukhabarat (Intelligence) building.
Yesterday, a Fateh-linked security officer was kidnapped and killed, and clashes ensued in front of Ministry of Foreign Affairs after unknown assailants fired on the convoy of Mahmud Zahar; Later, Fateh gunmen took over the Ministries of Agriculture and Educationin what Zahar has described as an attempted military coup; and in the north of the Gaza Strip, Jabaliya, clashes continued today despite a tenuous “ceasefire” (people are now trying to keep track of which ceasefire is which).
Every hour, new blood is spilled, and every hour, we here new condemnations and regret at the fact that brethren are doing this to each other. How does a society actually slip into civil war? is it gradual or abrupt? When is that red line finally crossed, the point of no return, when all precedents are broken, and wrong can suddenly be right?
And why are we in the media so anxious to call this a civil war, almost as we want to will into existance, while the civil war in Iraq has been raging for years, and no one knows how to characterize it yet.
Israel must be pleased with its handiwork (but will, as usual, come to regret such short-term thinking.) Hamas will be strengthened and US-aligned Fatah greatly weakened.