Rami Almeghari: Gaza Unrest Paralyzes Movement

By Rami Almeghari in Gaza

As internal unrest in Gaza City, due to clashes between Fatah and Hamas supporters that has claimed lives of 25, wounded dozens others and caused destruction to many public utilities such as universities and governmental buildings, since last Thursday, movement in Gaza city is almost paralyzed.

The United Nations Works and Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced it would keep all schools, administered by it, closed starting from February 3 until a further notice, pending restore to calm.

The Palestinian Authority institutions were almost empty on Saturday, as employees refrained from going to work places out of fear they come across fire.

Fathi Tobail, director of Translation Department at the State Information Service said that he had no employees today, following the Friday ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Fatah, as clashes renewed in Gaza despite such an announcement.

Most of stores and shops in the city were closed today as streets appeared almost empty of passersby, but gunmen everywhere, either official security personnel, Fatah militants, and Hamas’s executive force.

A local Gaza resident, who refused to give his name, said “this is unbearable situation as we can not sleep, walk or live. Why they are fighting? For power? Where is this power as we are besieged, while our economy is deteriorating? We don’t need either Hamas or Fatah”

In many parts of Gaza, driving by car or walking on foot has become difficult for the locals, as roadblocks are spread every where, as unknown militants check people identities on main roads in the city.

Iyad Jbara we paid a visit to the al-Shifa hospital to check on his wounded brother, said: “while I was driving by the Gaza coastal road on my way to the hospital, a group of militants with military uniforms, stopped me and asked for my ID, I was nervous for concern about my brother who was lying at the hospital. I screamed at them, who are you? I am just going to the hospital, what’s wrong with you?”

Iyad’s brother is a policeman, who was hit with shrapnel in the chest during a gun battle at the Alyarmouk police center in Gaza early on Friday morning.

Current clashes in Gaza has broken out after members of the executive force, belonging to the interior ministry, blocked a Presidential force convoy at the Salaheldin main road in central Gaza Strip, believing the convoy contained weapons delivered by an Arab country through the Egyptian borders. Both Egypt and the Palestinian presidency denied the allegations.

Factional infighting in Gaza has been frequently taking place since last December, when President Mahmoud Abbas, called for early presidential and parliamentary elections to put an end to failed unity government talks and almost 10-month old international economic embargo since a Hamas-led government has been installed following the party’s landslide victory in January’s legislative elections.

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