Sunday, April 23, 2006

Hamas is consolidating its rule over the Palestinian Territories.

Although both Fatah's Abbas and Haniyeh of Hamas have made conciliatory noises, the war in the streets still continues. And Hamas is getting the upper hand.

Popular Resistance kingpin Jamal Semhadana's appointment to be `General' of the new Palestinian `security' force by the Hamas interior minister was vetoed by Mahmoud Abbas.

But the reality is that Semhadana is in full control on the ground, and last night ordered his Gaza forces to kill anyone who gets in the way. Two days of violent gun battles clashes in Gaza City left 40 injured.

The `security units' under Semhadana’s orders are not only thugs and gunmen from his his own Popular Resistance Committees, but include units from Hamas’s military wing Ezz-e-Din al-Qassam. This was the first time the Hamas had deployed its military arm as a special security unit on support of its government.

Hamas is gradually boxing Palestinian Authority chairman Abbas into a corner, especially in Gaza. As we've seen, Abbas issued two “executive orders” Friday. One was supposed to cancel Jamal Semhadana's appointment by the interior minister, Said Siyam..and the second was supposed to cancel the new “police force” Semhadana was going to build out of terrorist groups.

Both orders were quashed the same day. Palestinian Interior Ministry spokesman Khaled Abu Hilal, a Fatah turncoat who has latched on to the Hamas bandwagon stated: “We are pressing ahead with our plan.”

In a speech in Damascus, Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal accused Abbbas and Fatah of attempting to topple Hamas rule by a “military coup,” as a tool of the Americans and Zionists. He said that such tactics wouldn't work and called Fatah loyalists “miserable mercenaries.”

Fatah took to the streets in Gaza commanded by Samir Mashrawi, deputy chief of the Gaza Preventive Security Service. Thirty people were wounded in ensuing clashes with Hamas loyalists. To quell the riot, Hamas publicly offered Abbas a face-saver by pretending to drop the new police force.

But Semhadana stayed on, the force is a reality and he is continuing his job of taking over the 50,000-strong Palestinian security force and purging Fatah loyalists.

Truth is, Abbas has little real power anymore...and no one should be decieved by his threats to `fire' the Hamas government. Hamas is much more likely to fire Abbas..permanently, if you know what I mean.

Abbas' authority at home is almost non-existant, which is why he spends most of his time shilling for the Palestinians overseas. He comands a few Fatah loyalists and his private bodyguard, Force 17, but even the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a branch of Fatah, hold him in contempt and refuse to follow his orders.

The Palestinian Authority as such barely functions- either in Gaza or the West Bank. A few departments like health or education keep going after a fashion, fueled by `humanitarian' aid, but their budgets are almost exhausted....not because the money J O S H U A P U N D I T:isn't there but because it's being diverted elsewhere.

The new interior minister Said Siyam has been devoting his full attention to consolidating Hamas loyalists in the key positions grabbed from the PA’s Fatah-dominated security, intelligence and civil services, and Abbas has not been able to stop him.

The appointment of Jamal Semhadana was a major coup in this direction, as it virtually insured Hamas control of Gaza.

Semhadana's clan is long established there, a former Arafat `partner' and runs a Middle East smuggling network that runs contraband drugs, prostitutes and arms from Egypt and elsewhere throughout the region...even, reportedly,arms and explosives to the Sunni insurgent and al Qaeda in Iraq.

The Palestinian Authority’s security forces supposedly contain around 60,000 men.
But the organization of these men, except for elites like Force 17 is pretty weak
since the paychecks stopped coming in on a regular basis. Most of them are not destitute, since they've always had other sources of revenue bodyguarding for various clans and crime factions, or even working for themselves...but there's no particular reason for them to be loyal to Fatah at this point.

Think of what happens when the Capo of a crime syndicate cannot pay or protect its `soldiers' anymore, and you'll have a good idea of where Fatah stands with these men.

Semhadana's job is to overhaul and reorganize these forces, blend in recruits from the various Palestinian terrorist factions and his own PRC, and hand out some Hamas cash and put them on the Hamas payroll and under Hamas control.

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