7 July 2007 0 Comments

Palestinian Civil War Part II: Coming Soon

If you’re inclined to agree with the State Department that, for the time being, it’s just fine to have Hamas isolated in Gaza, so long as Fatah plays nice in the West Bank, think again. This week in Bethlehem, an old friend who’s a member of Fatah told me bitterly that the men who run that particularly corrupt gang — the newly endorsed recipients of international aid on a scale that would have even Yasser Arafat wondering if he had room in his Swiss accounts to stash it — aren’t going to leave well alone. “What happened in Gaza is going to happen here in Bethlehem, Matt,” he said.

You’d think Fatah leaders would figure they got off lightly, only facing utter humiliation in half a civil war at the hands of Hamas in Gaza and getting away without fighting the second period in the West Bank, where their infrastructure is perhaps a little stronger than the Islamic party. But no. The promises of big money from the U.S. for the new Hamas-less government has put the wind back into the undemocratic, gangsterish sails of the Fatah chiefs and they’re preparing for some bloodletting.

The next round of the Palestinian civil war will be in the West Bank, and it won’t be far off.

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