Conflicts & War

Palestinians mark 13 years of painful divisions

Jerusalem, June 15 (efe-epa).- Some two million Palestinians on the Gaza Strip on Monday marked a painful date: a civil war that 13 years ago established an ongoing conflict between the country’s main political parties, Fatah and Hamas.

The battle resulted in the split of the Palestinian Authority between the Sunny-Islamist Hamas movement, widely regarded as a terrorist organization, and the Fatah nationalist social democratic party founded by Yasser Arafat.

On 15 June 2007, following weeks of infighting between the two rival groups, Hamas seized control of the entire Gaza Strip and routed Mahmoud Abbas’ security forces who have ruled only part of the West Bank since then.

The conflict paved the way for the unrelenting Israeli blockade of the enclave, which combined with constant infighting, has obliterated the economy of one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

Gaza’s residents have never forgotten this painful anniversary which sewed tension on the region’s streets that were seized by gunmen, leaving 116 dead and over 550 injured, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Abdelkarim Ellouh, a 67-year-old from Gaza, lost his son Nooh during the civil war.

He was killed by Hamas militias in the first week of June 2007.

Ellouh is still filled with sadness, anger, and pain: “If my son was killed by the Jews (Israelis) I wouldn’t be sad because my son would be considered a martyr and a hero, but the fact my son was killed by another Palestinian gunman makes me mad and angry. I don’t know what my son did to Hamas and why they killed him.”

“Since the death of my son, I sit down at the entrance to our house and whenever I see someone approaching me, I feel it could be my son Nooh and he is coming back.”

The internal fighting between Hamas and Fatah in the Gaza Strip started when Fatah refused to recognize the results of the January 2006 parliamentary elections which handed Hamas a resounding victory.

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