Gaza Unites Palestinians, Fatah, Hamas

By Ola Attallah

GAZA CITY – The Israeli lethal attacks against Gaza – described as a "Holocaust" by a top Israeli army official – killed as many as toddlers and innocent civilians, and turned the tiny territory into a moonscape with destroyed homes and scorched earth; but it breathed life into long-dormant unity between the rival brothers Hamas and Fatah.

"Grief has united us all," Kamal, a Fatah member, told Wednesday, March 5.

Kamal did not think twice and rushed to the home of a Hamas neighbor to condole with his family after he was killed in one of the ongoing Israeli missile attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Now he says he will provide for the family of the Hamas victim.

"Aren’t we brothers? It is a duty not a favor to solace one another in such hard times. My heart breaks for my (Hamas) neighbor," said Kamal, his eyes red and brimming with pain.

Five days of Israeli air strikes and ground incursions in Gaza have killed at least 123 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and translated into action threats by Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai to turn Gaza into a "bigger Holocaust."

More than 350 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were wounded in the offensive with many of them were left die as Israel impeded ambulances.

Tuesday night, Israeli occupation troops shot dead a Palestinian baby girl and a senior Hamas member during an incursion into Gaza.

In a spontaneous moving scene, dozens of Hamas and Fatah supporters were seen over the past few days sitting shoulder-to-shoulder to offer their condolences to the families of the raid victims.

The buried the ghost of their bitter disunity and trampled upon simmering political rivalries between their leaders.

In the Hamas stronghold of Gaza, the Fatah supporters shrugged off moles who routinely report to the leadership in Ramallah about Fatahists who "switch allegiance."

Unity Now

The heart-wrenching scenes that keep unfolding from the Gaza Strip have made national unity at the top of the ladder of priorities.

"It is high time we united and let bygones be bygones," Aziz, a Fatah supporter, said after offering his heartfelt condolences to the family of a Hamas victim in Gaza.

Abu-Ghaleb Al-Banna, a Hamas supporter, said the Israeli onslaught is a bittersweet incident.

"It broke our hearts, but united us," he said.

The rift between Hamas and Fatah widened last June after Abbas had sacked a national unity government headed by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip.

Citing confidential documents, the US magazine Vanity Fair revealed that the Bush administration had drawn up plans to topple the ruling Hamas after its 2006 parliamentary victory with the help of Fatah strongman Mohammad Dahlan, prompting Hamas to take a preemptive action by taking over the Gaza Strip.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal renewed calls on Saturday for a national unity government and unconditional, open dialogue with Fatah to tackle all sticking points.

In the West Bank, the green flags of Hamas were seen mingling with the yellow ones of Fatah in mass marches in Nablus, Tulkarm and Bethlehem against the Israeli incursions.

"Unity, unity…Hey Fatah and Hamas!" shouted a group of students. "What are you waiting for? Come on and shake hands."

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out