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Factional violence threatens Palestinian coalition government

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Factional violence threatens Palestinian coalition government


The violence in the Gaza Strip, which erupted last Friday, is continuing, with eight people now reported killed in clashes between Fatah and Hamas factions. A further 50 have been injured. It’s feared the fledgling unity government could be on the verge of collapse. The independent Palestinian Interior Minister, Hani al Qawasmi, has resigned, claiming his position has become untenable in a government pulling in different directions.

The Palestinian Information Minister, Mustafa Barghouti, is also deeply concerned: “We are determined to put an end to this conflict. It must be made clear that Fatah and Hamas cannot be in a government of national unity, with us, and fight with each other at the same time on the streets.”

Israel has reaffirmed its view of Hamas as a terrorist group, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is using the situation to illustrate why the government was not ready to talk peace. For now an Israeli military response is on hold, even though all Palestinian efforts to calm the violence have so far failed.

Fatah’s offices in Gaza have been destroyed in a fire set by Hamas supporters. The blaze elicited a tit-for-tat response at a Hamas office across town.

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