Battle of Gaza (2007): Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Battle of Gaza
Part of the Fatah–Hamas conflict
Date June 7–15, 2007
Location Gaza Strip
Result Hamas victory
Territorial
changes
Hamas takes over the Gaza Strip
Belligerents
Flag of Hamas.svg Hamas Fateh-logo.jpg Fatah
Casualties and losses
120 combatants
41 non-combatants[1]
including 2 UN personnel[2]

The Battle of Gaza (Arabic: معركة غزّة‎) was a military conflict between Hamas and Fatah that took place between June 7 and June 15, 2007 in the Gaza Strip. It resulted in Hamas remaining in control of the Gaza Strip after forcing out Fatah. The ICRC estimated that at least 118 people were killed and more than 550 wounded during the fighting in the week up to June 15.[3]

Contents

Background

Conflict between Fatah and Hamas had been simmering since Hamas won the legislature elections in January 2006. Upon taking power, Hamas offered Israel a one-year extension of the truce that was in force, but announced they would refuse to honor past agreements between the Palestinian Government and Israel, and as a result the US, Israel and the EU cut off aid to Hamas.[4] The U.S. and Israel attempted to undermine Hamas[5] while strengthening President Mahmoud Abbas's position and forcing Hamas from power. The U.S., Egypt, and Israel also armed and trained Fatah for a possible war with Hamas.[6][7][8][9]

The major conflict in Gaza surfaced in December 2006 and was centered on Hamas executive force attempts to control Gaza instead of the Palestinian police.[10] In the April 2008 issue of Vanity Fair the writer David Rose published an article, based on internal US documents, suggesting that the United States collaborated with the Palestinian Authority and Israel to attempt a putsch on Hamas, and Hamas preempted the putsch.[11]

Attacks

After the re-ignition of the Fatah-Hamas conflict on June 10, Hamas militants seized several Fatah members and threw one of them, Mohammed Sweirki, an officer in the elite Palestinian Presidential Guard, off the top of the tallest building in Gaza, a 15-story apartment building. In retaliation, Fatah militants attacked and killed the imam of the city's Great Mosque, Mohammed al-Rifati. They also opened fire on the home of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya. Just before midnight, a Hamas militant was thrown off a 12-story building.[12]

On June 11, the residences of both Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah's leader and the Palestinian Authority president, and of then-Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, of Hamas, were targeted with gun and shell fire.[13]

On June 12, Hamas began attacking posts held by their Fatah faction rivals. Hundreds of Hamas fighters had moved on the positions after giving their occupants two hours to leave. A major Fatah base in the northern town of Jabaliya fell to Hamas fighters, witnesses told AFP news agency. Heavy fighting also raged around the main Fatah headquarters in Gaza City, with Hamas militants attacking with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons.[13]

On June 13, Hamas seized the headquarters of the Fatah-controlled National Security Forces in northern Gaza. Gunmen fought for control of high-rise buildings serving as sniper positions and Hamas said it had bulldozed a Fatah outpost controlling Gaza's main north-south road. Also on that day, an explosion wrecked the Khan Younis headquarters of the Fatah-linked Preventive Security Service, killing five people.[2]

On June 14, Hamas gunmen completed the takeover of the central building of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service's headquarters in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas members took over vehicles and weapons in the compound, which was considered the Palestinian Authority's main symbol in the Strip. The Preventive Security Service cooperated with Israel in the past, and has been armed by the United States.[14] It is identified with Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan, who has become a hated figure by the Islamists in Gaza.[14] The gunmen who entered the compound held a prayer there and waved a flag on the building's rooftop. At least 10 people were killed. Hamas TV broadcast a display of weapons inside the building, as well as jeeps, mortar shells and bulletproof vests seized in the compound, which according to Hamas, were smuggled to Fatah by Israel and the Americans in the past few months through the border with Egypt.[15]

Hamas members held a prayer in the compound, which they referred to as the "heresy compound." Hamas also changed the name of the neighborhood where the building is located from "Tel al-Hawa" to "Tel al-Islam."[15]

On the afternoon of June 14, the Associated Press reported an explosion that rocked Gaza City. According to Fatah officials, security forces withdrew from their post and blew it up in order to not let Hamas take it over. The security forces afterwards repositioned to another location. Later on June 14, Hamas also took control of the southern Gaza Strip city Rafah which lies near an, already closed, border crossing with Egypt, which is monitored by Israeli, Palestinian and European Union security forces. The EU staff had, at that time, already been relocated to the Israeli city of Ashkelon for safety reasons.[16] On June 14 Abbas dissolved the Palestinian-Hamas unity government, on June 15, Hamas completed the control over Gaza.[4]

Advertisements

Violations of international law

These attacks by both Hamas and Fatah constitute brutal assaults on the most fundamental humanitarian principles. The murder of civilians not engaged in hostilities and the willful killing of captives are war crimes, pure and simple.

—Sarah Leah Whitson,
Middle East director for Human Rights Watch.[17]

Human Rights Watch accused both sides with violations of international humanitarian law, in some cases amounting to war crimes.[18] The accusations include the targeting and killing of civilians, public executions of political opponents and captives, throwing prisoners off high-rise apartment buildings, fighting in hospitals, and shooting from a jeep marked with "TV" insignias.[17] The International Committee of the Red Cross has denounced attacks in and around two hospitals in the northern part of the Gaza strip.[19]

During the fighting several incidents of looting took place: a crowd took furniture, wall tiles and personal belongings from the villa of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat;[20] the home of former Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan was also looted: "An AFP correspondent witnessed dozens of Palestinians taking everything they could carry from Dahlan's villa - furniture, pot plants and even the kitchen sink, complete with plumbing fixtures such as taps,";[21] and at the Muntada, Abbas's seafront presidential compound, witnesses reported seeing Hamas fighters remove computers, documents and guns.[21]

Aftermath

Political consequences

On 14 June 2007 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced the dissolution of the current unity government and the declaration of a state of emergency.[22][23] Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya was dismissed, and Abbas rules Gaza and the West Bank by presidential decree. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri responded by declaring that President Abbas' decision was "in practical terms...worthless", asserting that Mr. Haniya "remains the head of the government even if it was dissolved by the president".[24]

As a result of the conflict, the territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority is de facto divided into two entities: the Hamas-controlled government of the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank, governed by the Palestinian National Authority.[25]

On 18 June, key international powers, including the EU, US and Israel showed public support for the new administration without Hamas. The EU and US normalized the tie to the Palestinian National Authority and resumed direct aid. Israel announced it would return frozen tax revenue of about USD800m to the new administration.[26]

During the fighting, 6,000 Palestinians fled across the Egyptian border. They have been stranded on the Egyptian side of Rafah there since Hamas took power and cannot return to the Gaza Strip.[27] Israeli and Egyptian diplomats worked to convince Hamas to allow these Palestinians to peacefully use the Kerem Shalom crossing to return home. As of July 5, 2007, according to Israeli officials, Hamas insisted that if the crossing is opened they would attack the crossing with mortars and gunfire, even at the price of killing thousands of Palestinians.[27] The border would not reopen until the breach of the Gaza-Egypt border in 2008.

Religious consequences

A Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Fouzi Barhoum, said earlier that Hamas was imposing Islamic law in Gaza but this was denied by exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.[28]

Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic outreach movement that recently announced the opening of a "military wing" to enforce Muslim law in Gaza. "I expect our Christian neighbors to understand the new Hamas rule means real changes. They must be ready for Islamic rule if they want to live in peace in Gaza." [29] Although a Christian bookstore has been attacked, there has never been a case of a Christian being attacked or killed because of his religion as of June 2009. Muslim and Christian communities are said to live in "peaceful coexistence".[30]

Military consequences

Hamas has captured thousands of small arms and eight armored combat vehicles supplied by the United States,[31] Egypt, and Jordan[32] to the Palestinian Authority.

According to Muhammad Abdel-El of the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees, Hamas and its allies have captured quantities of foreign intelligence, including CIA files. He is quoted as saying that they are "more important than all the American weapons we obtained the last two days." Abu Abdullah of Hamas' "military wing", the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, claims Hamas will make portions of the documents public, in a stated attempt to expose covert relations between the United States and "traitor" Arab countries.[33]

While Hamas collected most of the 15,000 weapons registered to the former security forces, it failed to collect more than a fraction of the 400,000 weapons that are in the hands of various clans, and said that it would not touch weapons used for fighting Israel, only those that might be used against Hamas.[34]

Notes

  1. ^ Palestinian Center for Human Rights
  2. ^ a b Hamas battles for control of Gaza, BBC News Online, June 13, 2007.
  3. ^ Gaza-Westbank – ICRC Bulletin No. 22 / 2007, AlertNet, accessed June 16, 2007.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ U.S. and Israelis Are Said to Talk of Hamas Ouster. "recognize Israel's right to exist, forswear violence and accept previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements ... or face isolation and collapse." Verified 14 Nov 2007.
  6. ^ Israel, US, and Egypt back Fatah's fight against Hamas, The Christian Science Monitor, May 25, 2007
  7. ^ U.S. training Fatah in anti-terror tactics, San Francisco Chronicle, December 14, 2006
  8. ^ Diplomats fear US wants to arm Fatah for 'war on Hamas', The Times Online, November 18, 2006
  9. ^ Israeli defense official: Fatah arms transfer bolsters forces of peace, Haaretz, December 28, 2006
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ The Gaza Bombshell, Vanity Fair, April 2008
  12. ^ Article in The Australian, CNN article
  13. ^ a b Hamas launches new Gaza attacks, BBC News Online, June 12, 2007.
  14. ^ a b A pyrrhic victory, The Guardian, June 16, 2007.
  15. ^ a b We'll execute Fatah leaders, Israel News, June 14, 2007.
  16. ^ Update, cnn.com.
  17. ^ a b Gaza: Armed Palestinian Groups Commit Grave Crimes, Human Rights Watch, June 13, 2007.
  18. ^ Armed Palestinian Groups Commit Grave Crimes, HRW via BBSNews, New York, June 14, 2007.
  19. ^ Hospitals offer no safety in Gaza strip, ABC News, June 13, 2007.
  20. ^ Crowd loots Gaza home of Arafat, Ali Waked and Reuters, June 16, 2007.
  21. ^ a b Hamas goes on Gaza looting spree, IOL, June 15, 2007.
  22. ^ "Abbas Dissolves Palestinian Authority Government in Wake of Hamas-Fatah War". 2007-06-14. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,282195,00.html. Retrieved 2007-06-14.  
  23. ^ Levinson, Charles; Matthew Moore (2007-06-14). "Abbas declares state of emergency in Gaza". http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/06/14/wgaza614.xml. Retrieved 2007-06-14.  
  24. ^ "Abbas sacks Hamas-led government". BBC News. 2007-06-14. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6754499.stm. Retrieved 2007-06-14.  
  25. ^ "Hamas Forces Seize Control Over Much of Gaza". http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/13/world/middleeast/13cnd-mideast.htm.  
  26. ^ "Key powers back Abbas government". BBC News. 2007-06-18. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6764541.stm. Retrieved 2007-06-18.  
  27. ^ a b Katz, Yaakov. "Hamas threats keep crossing closed." Jerusalem Post. 5 July 2007. 7 July 2007.
  28. ^ Hamas controls Gaza, says it will stay in power
  29. ^ 'Christians must accept Islamic rule' - Israel News, Ynetnews
  30. ^ [3]
  31. ^ Hamas seizes U.S. armored personnel carriers World Net Daily, June 12, 2007. Retrieved on June 16, 2007.
  32. ^ Hamas seizes US-financed weapons, equipment, Middle East Newsline, June 14, 2007.
  33. ^ Terrorists claim CIA files seized, World Net Daily, June 14, 2007. Retrieved June 18, 2007
  34. ^ Haaretz (June 21, 2007). "Few Gazans turn in weapons as Hamas deadline for arms collection expires". Haaretz. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/873736.html.  

External links


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message