maandag 18 juni 2007

Fatah gunmen take on Hamas in West Bank

Hoewel Fatah zich incidenteel wreekt voor de coup van Hamas afgelopen week in Gaza, lijkt er vooralsnog geen sprake van grootschalig geweld. Volgens een woordvoerder van de aan Fatah gelieerde Al Aqsa Martelaren Brigade heeft Hamas 400 Fatah leden gedood.

Fatah gunmen storm parliament in Ramallah and torch Hamas buildings in Nablus
Date: 16 / 06 / 2007  Time:  14:13

Ramallah – Ma'an – On Saturday morning Fatah militias from the Al Aqsa Brigades stormed the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) buildings in Ramallah, in the central West Bank.

Fatah gunmen also torched several institutions and societies affiliated to the Hamas movement in Nablus, in the northern West Bank.

The firefighting department of Nablus municipality said that they extinguished fires in a number of institutions, clubs and industrial plants in the city.

Hamas sources told Ma'an's correspondent that Fatah's military wing, the Al Aqsa Brigades, kidnapped several Hamas members in Nablus.

Al Aqsa Brigades' members also raided Nablus municipality's offices and raised the Palestinian flag from the roof of the building.

The brigades prevented any Hamas-affiliated members from the local council from entering the building, saying that they will appoint an independent committee for the local council.

The Al Aqsa Brigades also announced the appointment of a new director, Jamal Ma'roof, for the endowment department in Nablus, after breaking into its offices.

In response, Hamas accused Fatah of attempting to eradicate the opposition. Hamas said in a statement, "The Fatah movement is practicing ethnic cleansing against anyone affiliated to the Hamas movement or even close to the movement."

"Hamas murdered 400 Fatah activists"

Spokesperson of the Al Aqsa Brigades in the West Bank, Abu 'Uday, denied Hamas' allegations. He told Ma'an that since Friday night, the Al Aqsa Brigades have striven to protect Palestinian people, including Hamas members.

He also said that the effect of the Israeli occupation prevents Palestinians from immediately seizing control of everything in the West Bank.

Abu 'Uday also accused Hamas of attempting to divert focus to the West Bank whilst Hamas are committing atrocities in the Gaza Strip. "They are trying to make people forget that Hamas murdered 400 Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip," said Abu Uday.

Abbas "acting illegally"

Acting speaker of the PLC, Ahmad Bahar, denounced the assault on the parliament buildings and the threats to the PLC's director general of financial affairs, Abdul Kareem Abu Taha.

Bahar held a press conference in Gaza City, during which he appealed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to enforce the cessation of such attacks.

With regards to the presidential decrees issued by Abbas, Bahar said "Every newly-formed government is illegal until it gains the PLC confidence, according to the amended articles of the basic Palestinian law. What's more, [Prime Minister] Haniyeh's unity government remains legal as a transitional government, until a new government gains the PLC's confidence."

Bahar stated that the Palestinian president based his decision to establish an emergency government on article seven of the basic law. "However," he explained, "there is no written text under article 7 subtitled 'emergency government'." He went on to detail article 67, confirming that "any new government must gain the confidence of the PLC as a precondition before they are sworn in".

In addition, article 79, paragraph 4, states that the prime minister, or any other minister, may not start their duties before gaining the approval of the PLC.

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