The Palestinians could be heading for civil war, said the pan-Arab Al-Hayat in an editorial. Both the old guard Fatah faction, recently ousted from government, and the more radical Hamas, currently in charge, have been recruiting aggressively during the past few weeks. And both have been training their rival militias in Gaza. Last week, Fatah militants “paraded around with machine guns and set cars on fire.” Hamas militants were conducting similar operations at the same time, and just a few kilometers away. Officially, Fatah and Hamas say they are training to protect Palestinians against Israel. But many believe there are “plans in both movements to prepare for a confrontation with each other.” Such a conflict could quickly arise in the case of any “serious deterioration, such as the toppling of or even simple resignation of the Hamas government.” In a particularly ominous sign, the two factions recently competed for the purchase of 100,000 bullets for Kalashnikov machine guns. Hamas reportedly won the lot by offering a quarter-million dollars. That’s not bad for a party that is supposedly starved for cash. But it’s certainly a bad sign for anyone who wants to see fewer, not more, Palestinian casualties.
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