Eighteen killed in two days of Gaza fighting

A Palestinian man cries upon inspecting the bodies of Palestinian national security force members in a Gaza hospital morgue, 15 May 2007. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

Armed clashes have seriously spread and escalated between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza. Eighteen Palestinians have been killed and 80 admitted at hospitals [with] wounds (many of the wounded are cared for by their factions) since Sunday 13 May 2007. Dozens have also been abducted, of whom Al Mezan documented 21 cases, including Gaza’s Police Director and two university professors.

Severe tension prevails around the Gaza Strip as factions build on militants and erect checkpoints and barracks. Tension and clahses are expected to increase following the killing of a member of the Executive Force and seven of the National Security members today.

According to the Center’s field investigations, the identities of those killed are: Majid Jarghoun; Anwar Ash-Shair; Ibrahim Ghanim; Saif Ad-din Abu Rwishid; Nouh Al Louh; Hussein Abu Tawaheneh; Wisam Karsou’; Adil Abu Amra; Haydar Abu Iyadeh; Hani Al Ghazali; and Yousif Mteer.

This raises the toll of Palestinians killed in internal clashes to 196 since the start of 2007. Some 1,171 have also been injured and 229 kidnapped. In addition, tens of governmental and non-governmental organizations, residential buildings and vehicles have been damaged.

Al Mezan Center strongly condemns the recommencement of armed clashes and the mounting casualties. The center believes that these actions clearly illustrate the disastrous impasse that the Palestinian political regime is facing, and the failure of the National Unity Government to put clear standards for political partnership and for facing the security problems. The renewal of clashes also demonstrates the inability of the PNA and all its intuitions, particularly the Ministry of Interior, to put an end to the deteriorating state of insecurity and absence of the rule of law.

The Center calls upon all parties to put common interest above group good. It calls the parties to immediately ceasefire, recall all armed men from streets and buildings, and return to national dialogue. The Center reiterates its previous demands calling for serious investigations into these incidents which have jeopardized the personal safety of citizens, and the bringing of the perpetrators of such crimes to justice. The Center calls for the formation of an adequately mandated investigation committee to examine all violations of human rights and Palestinian law that occurred on the ground. Failure to deal with these crimes will only exacerbate the situation as it allows those responsible political cover for their crimes and contribute to the increase of revenge actions and family fights in the Gaza Strip.

The Center also calls for the Palestinian Legislative Council to undertake its obligations monitoring the Executive Authority performance. The PLC must hold the Executive Authority responsible, so as to ensure its power in maintaining security and order, and prevent the political polarization among parliamentary groups as this only serves to undermine the PLC and hinder it from pursuing its functions.

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