Despite efforts to heal the rift, feelings are running high. Palestinian in-fighting has once again erupted in Gaza, although not on the scale of Saturday’s violent confrontations. Fatah gunmen stormed into the Palestinian Health Ministry today, clashing with the security service of the rival Hamas group.
In the exchange of fire that followed, at least three people were hurt. The flare-up came despite a late-night crisis meeting and a pledge by officials from both sides to take steps to end the fighting. The latest trouble followed comments from the exiled Hamas leader. Khaled Meshaal condemned a decision made by the Palestinian president to veto Hamas’s plans for a new security force. Warning of a plot against the new Hamas-led government, he launched a stinging attack on Fatah, which is led by Mahmoud Abbas. His words were widely interpreted as an attack on the president himself. The internal fighting that followed left at least 20 people injured. Today in a show of support for Abbas and Fatah, thousands marched in the West Bank town of Jenin, including many Palestinian security officers. In the meantime, talks were being arranged between aides to Abbas and the Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The two men themselves are set to meet later this month, when Abbas returns from a visit abroad.