Fatah–Hamas conflict

Fatah–Hamas conflict

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Fatah–Hamas conflict'
Start a new discussion about 'Fatah–Hamas conflict'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Fatah–Hamas conflict ( Al-Nizāʿ bain Fataḥ wa Ḥamās), also referred to as the Palestinian Civil War (Arabic: الحرب الأهلية الفلسطينية Al-Ḥarb al-ʾAhliyyah al-Filisṭīnīyah), and the Conflict of Brothers (Arabic: صراع الأخوة Ṣirāʿ al-Ikhwah), i.e. fratricidal
Fratricide
Fratricide is the act of a person killing his or her brother....

 war, began in 2006 after Hamas's legislative victories
Palestinian legislative election, 2006
On January 25, 2006, elections were held for the Palestinian Legislative Council , the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority . Notwithstanding the 2005 municipal elections and the January 9, 2005 presidential election, this was the first election to the PLC since 1996; subsequent...

 and continued, politically and sometimes militarily, until a reconciliation agreement was signed in May of 2011. The conflict was between the two main Palestinian parties, Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 and Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

. The conflict is called Wakseh among Palestinians, meaning humiliation, ruin, and collapse as a result of self-inflicted damage.

Background


The tensions between Hamas and Fatah began to rise in 2005 after the death of longtime PLO leader Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

, who died on November 11, 2004, and intensified after Hamas won the elections
Palestinian legislative election, 2006
On January 25, 2006, elections were held for the Palestinian Legislative Council , the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority . Notwithstanding the 2005 municipal elections and the January 9, 2005 presidential election, this was the first election to the PLC since 1996; subsequent...

 of 2006.

2006 elections



Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 won the 2006 Palestinian elections
Palestinian legislative election, 2006
On January 25, 2006, elections were held for the Palestinian Legislative Council , the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority . Notwithstanding the 2005 municipal elections and the January 9, 2005 presidential election, this was the first election to the PLC since 1996; subsequent...

. In reaction, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, several Western states
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

, and the Arab states
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 imposed sanctions suspending all foreign aid, upon which Palestinians depend. (They have promised to resume aid if Hamas fulfills '3 Demands,' recognizing Israel, accepting agreements made by the Palestinian Authority under the previous Fatah-led Administration, and denouncing violence.) Despite the sanctions, and incidents of successful border interdiction, Hamas leaders were able to smuggle enough money into the Palestinian territories to maintain basic health and educational services. The defeated Fatah party maintains control of most of the Palestinian security apparatus outside Gaza. The US administration funded Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

's Presidential Guard.

Alleged involvement of the United States, Britain, Israel and Arab states


According to the IISS, the reason for the takeover was Hamas’s conviction that the Palestinian Authority Presidential Guard loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, which the US had helped build up to 3,500 men since August 2006, was being positioned to take control of Gaza. The US committed $59 million for training and non-lethal equipment for the Presidential Guard, and persuaded Arab allies to fund the purchase of further weapons. Israel, too, allowed light arms to flow to members of the Presidential Guard. The US insisted that all of its aid to the Presidential Guard is "nonlethal," consisting of training, uniforms, and supplies, as well as paying for better infrastructure at Gaza's borders. "The situation has gotten to be quite dire in Gaza, we have a situation of lawlessness and outright chaos," Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, who was overseeing the US program, said. "This chaotic situation is why the [US] is focused on [helping] the legal, legitimate security forces in our effort to reestablish law and order." Jordan and Egypt hosted at least two battalions for training. Beginning in 2004, British intelligence MI6 prepared plans for a wide-ranging crackdown on Hamas, in cooperation with British officials at Whitehall
Whitehall
Whitehall is a road in Westminster, in London, England. It is the main artery running north from Parliament Square, towards Charing Cross at the southern end of Trafalgar Square...

, and these plans were passed to Jibril Rajoub
Jibril Rajoub
Jibril Rajoub is a Palestinian political figure. He was the head of the Preventive Security Force in the West Bank until being dismissed in 2002. He was elected to the Fatah Central Committee at the party's 2009 congress...

 senior Fatah official in charge of security, according the cache of Palestine Papers
Palestine Papers
The Palestine Papers, representing publication of information hidden from public records and containing a cache of nearly 1,700 files, are the largest news leak in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They were released in January 2011 by Al-Jazeera...

 leaked to the press in 2011. Most of these British plans, calling for the internment of leaders and activists, the closure of radio stations and the replacement of imams in mosques were implemented later during the conflict.

March 2006 to December 2006: rise of tensions


The period from March to December 2006 was marked by tensions when Fatah commanders refused to take orders from the government while the Palestinian Authority initiated a campaign of assassinations and abductions against Hamas. which led to Hamas beginning its own. Tensions further grew between the two Palestinian factions after they failed to reach a deal to share government power. On December 15, Abbas called for a Palestinian general election. Hamas challenged the legality of holding an early election, maintaining its right to hold the full term of its democratically elected offices. Hamas characterized this as an attempted Fatah coup by Abbas, using undemocratic means to overthrow the results of a democratically elected government.

According to one Palestinian rights group, more than 600 Palestinians were killed in fighting from January 2006 to May 2007. A serious escalation in the violence was marked by the 2006 Rimal neighborhood shootings.

First round of fighting


On December 15, 2006, fighting broke out in the West Bank after Palestinian national security forces fired on a Hamas rally in Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

. At least 20 people were wounded in the clashes, which came shortly after Hamas accused Fatah of attempting to assassinate Ismail Haniya
Ismail Haniya
Ismail Haniyeh ; is a senior political leader of Hamas and one of two disputed Prime Ministers of the Palestinian National Authority, the matter being under political and legal dispute. He became Prime Minister after the legislative elections of 2006 which Hamas won...

, the Palestinian prime minister.

Intense fighting continued throughout December 2006 and January 2007 in the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

. Several ceasefire attempts failed, being broken by continued battles. In February 2007, Palestinian rivals met in the Islamic holy city of Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, and reached an accord ensuring a ceasefire. However, minor incidents continued through March and April 2007. More than 90 people were killed in these first months.

Second round of fighting


In mid-May 2007, clashes erupted once again in the streets of Gaza. In less than 20 days, more than 50 Palestinians were killed. Leaders of both parties tried to stop the fighting by calling dozens of truces, but none of them held for longer than a few days.

By most accounts, Hamas performed better than Fatah in the second round of fighting. Some attribute this to the discipline and better training of Hamas's fighters, as most of the casualties were from the Fatah faction.

Third round of fighting: Gaza – Hamas reasserts control


Throughout the four days of fighting Hamas took control of the main north–south road and the coastal road. The Israeli government closed all check-points on the borders of Gaza in response to the violence. During the four days of intense fighting at least 116 people were killed.

West Bank: Fatah wins and establishes a separate government


The attacks of Hamas gunmen against Fatah security forces in the Gaza Strip resulted in a reaction of Fatah gunmen against Hamas institutions in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

. Although Hamas's numbers were greater in the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

, Fatah forces were greater in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

.

On June 14, Palestinian President
President of the Palestinian National Authority
The President of the Palestinian National Authority is the highest-ranking political position in the Palestinian National Authority ....

 Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

 announced the dissolution
Dissolution of parliament
In parliamentary systems, a dissolution of parliament is the dispersal of a legislature at the call of an election.Usually there is a maximum length of a legislature, and a dissolution must happen before the maximum time...

 of the current unity government and the declaration of a state of emergency
State of emergency
A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale...

. Palestinian Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority
The Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority is the head of government of the Palestinian Authority government.The Prime Minister's Office was created in 2003 to manage day-to-day activities of the Palestinian government. The position was created because both Israel and the United...

 Ismail Haniya
Ismail Haniya
Ismail Haniyeh ; is a senior political leader of Hamas and one of two disputed Prime Ministers of the Palestinian National Authority, the matter being under political and legal dispute. He became Prime Minister after the legislative elections of 2006 which Hamas won...

 was dismissed, and Abbas began to rule Gaza and the West Bank by presidential decree. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri
Sami Abu Zuhri
Sami Abu Zuhri is a senior spokesman for the Palestinian political party Hamas. Zuhri, a relatively unknown member of Hamas, gained notoriety on May 19, 2006, when Palestinian security and customs officials discovered he had 640,000 euros on his person; another report claimed he held a larger sum...

 responded by declaring that President Abbas's decision was "in practical terms ... worthless," asserting that Haniya "remains the head of the government even if it was dissolved by the president".

Nathan Brown of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a foreign-policy think tank based in Washington, D.C. The organization describes itself as being dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States...

 commented that under the 2003 Palestinian Constitution Abbas clearly had the right to declare a state of emergency and dismiss the prime minister but the state of emergency could continue only for 30 days. After that it would need to be renewed by the (Hamas-dominated) Legislative Council, which also constrained the breadth of his emergency powers. Neither Hamas nor Fatah had enough votes to form a new government under the constitution. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights condemned Hamas's "decision to resolve the conflict militarily" but argued that "steps taken by President Mahmoud Abbas in response to these events violate the Basic Law and undermine the Basic Law in a manner that is no less dangerous."

On June 15, Abbas appointed Salam Fayyad
Salam Fayyad
Salam Fayyad is a Palestinian politician and Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority of the Palestinian National Authority. His first appointment, on 15 June 2007, which was justified by President Mahmoud Abbas on the basis of "national emergency", has not been confirmed by the...

 as prime minister and gave him the task of forming a new government.

The West Bank had its first casualty when the bullet-riddled body of a Hamas militant was found in Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

, sparking the fear that Fatah would use its advantage in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 for retaliation against its members' deaths in the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 On the same day, Hamas also declared that it was in full control of Gaza, a claim denied by Abbas.

On June 16, a Fatah-linked militant group, the al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades, stormed the Hamas-controlled parliament based in Ramallah in the West Bank. This act, including the ransack of the ministry of education, was seen as a reaction to similar looting occurring following Hamas's military success in Gaza.

On June 20, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar declared that if Fatah continued to try to uproot Hamas in the West Bank, it could lead to Fatah's downfall there as well. He would not deny when asked that Hamas resistance against Fatah would take the form of attacks and suicide bombings similar to those that Hamas has used against Israel in the past.

Renewed clashes in Gaza


On October 17, clashes erupted in eastern Gaza between Hamas security forces and members of the powerful Heles clan (Fatah-affiliated), leaving up to two dead on both sides. Fatah and Hamas officials gave conflicting accounts of what caused the fighting but the dispute seems to have originated when Hamas officials demanded that the clan return a governmental car. Another gun battle on October 20 killed one member of the clan and a 13-year-old boy. During the same day, in Rafah, one woman was killed and eight people were injured when Hamas security members traded fire with Islamic Jihad activists. Two days later, 7 more Palestinians were killed in the internal fighting, including some Hamas militants and a Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant.

On November 12, a large demonstration dedicated to the memory of late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

 was organized by Fatah in Gaza City. With over 200,000 participants, this was the largest Fatah demonstration in the Gaza Strip since the Hamas takeover. The demonstration was forcibly dispersed by Hamas gunmen, who fired into the crowd. At least six civilians were killed and over 80 people were injured, some from being trampled in the resulting stampede. The smaller militant group Islamic Jihad, whose members have clashed with Hamas several times, condemned the shootings.

2008–2009


On January 1, 2008, at least eight people died in factional fighting in the Gaza Strip.

On March 23, 2008, Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement in Sana'a
Sana'a
-Districts:*Al Wahdah District*As Sabain District*Assafi'yah District*At Tahrir District*Ath'thaorah District*Az'zal District*Bani Al Harith District*Ma'ain District*Old City District*Shu'aub District-Old City:...

, Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 that amounted to a reconciliation deal. It called for a return of the Gaza Strip to the pre-June 2007 situation, though this has not happened.

On May 31, 2009, six people were killed as Palestinian Authority and Hamas forces clashed in Qalqilya. Ethan Bronner
Ethan Bronner
Ethan Samuel Bronner has been Jerusalem bureau chief of The New York Times since March 2008 following four years as deputy foreign editor.-Biography:...

 described the fighting as an indication "that the Palestinian unity needed for creation of a state is far off."

2011 reconciliation agreement


Hamas and Fatah, among other Palestinian groups, held talks aimed at reconciling rival factions for the first time in two years in February of 2010. In March 2010, on the Doha Debates
Doha Debates
The Doha Debates are a forum for free speech in Qatar and tackle the region's most controversial and topical issues. They are sponsored by Qatar Foundation and their broadcasting rights are sold to BBC World News where they are aired monthly, eight times a year.In addition to BBC World News The...

 television show, representatives of Fatah and Hamas discussed the future of the Palestinian leadership.

On 27 April 2011, representatives of the two factions announced an agreement, mediated by Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, to form a joint caretaker government, with presidential and legislative elections to be held in 2012. On May 4, 2011 at a ceremony in Cairo the agreement was formally signed by the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

 and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. The accord provides for forming a "transitional" government of technocrats to prepare for legislative and presidential elections to the Palestinian Authority in one year. It also permits the entry of Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 into the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

 and holding of elections to its Palestine National Council decision-making body. The Palestinian Authority continues to handle security in the West Bank, as does Hamas in Gaza. They will form a joint security committee to decide on future security arrangements. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu objected because Hamas still calls for the destruction of Israel. The United States said the new Palestinian government must recognize Israel, continue previous agreements with it and renounce violence.

In June 2011, following the unity accord, negotiations proceeded regarding the formation of a unity government. Among the issues discussed were recognition of Israel, security, governance, relations with the West, and economic policy. Hamas had initially indicated that it wished to remain out of governance to focus on the more social work it conducted prior to its 2006 ascendancy, but it later retracted this statement. Negotiations were derailed over the issue of who would assume the position of Prime Minister, after Hamas rejected the appointment of current Palestinian Authority PM Salam Fayyad
Salam Fayyad
Salam Fayyad is a Palestinian politician and Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority of the Palestinian National Authority. His first appointment, on 15 June 2007, which was justified by President Mahmoud Abbas on the basis of "national emergency", has not been confirmed by the...

.

See also

  • Fitna (word)
  • Hamastan
    Hamastan
    Hamastan is a pejorative neologism, merging 'Hamas', a Palestinian militant organization and political party, and '-stan', a suffix of Persian origin meaning "home of/place of".-Linguistic history:...

  • List of wars 2003–2010
  • Palestinian political violence
    Palestinian political violence
    Palestinian political violence refers to acts of violence undertaken to further the Palestinian cause. These political objectives include self-determination in and sovereignty over Palestine, the liberation of Palestine and establishment of a Palestinian state, either in place of both Israel and...


External links