Friday, January 5, 2007

If This Isn't Civil War, What Is?

This report was compiled from multiple sources.

The Arab street, the U.S. government and the American media refuse to term the violence here a civil war, even after at least 6 more were killed Thursday in ‘inter-factional violence’.

As the gunfire raged in her neighborhood, Amina Abu Sahar walked into the street Thursday night and cried out, “Stop the fire! Arabs shooting Arabs…”

“What has happened to us? Save your bullets for the enemies. What a disgrace,” she said through tears.

Abu Sahar is not alone. Many of the “simple people” on the Arab street feel the same, feel despair over the escalating chaos.

On the street, people still refuse to term the events a civil war. Official spokespeople chose more military definitions, such as “confrontations between rival factions.” But as the death toll rises, including a senior security commander, plus dozens of wounded, it is clear to all that these are legitimate confrontations in a governmental power struggle.

Every violent incident results in threats, revenge, and in the end, more casualties. Every day there is renewed drama. Today the drama was broadcast to residents of the entire country when chief of the Security Service in the north, Mohammed Ghayeb was killed when rival militants laid siege to his house. Ghayeb’s killing was expected to trigger revenge attacks by the men under his command.

Ghayeb was on the phone to national TV just moments before his death and appealed for help as his house came under attack. "They are killers," he said of the gunmen. "They are targeting the house, children are dying, they are bleeding. For God's sake, send an ambulance, we want an ambulance, somebody move."

The battle outside the house raged for much of the day and killed four of Ghayeb's guards and a rival gunman. About three dozen people, including eight children, were also wounded.

Now, all fear further escalations, which are likely to rise if public representatives are counted among the casualties. The concerns are not unrealistic – Wednesday an RPG missile was fired at the home of senior insurgency official Sufian Abu-Zaida, although he was not killed.

This could be the reason as well why the Prime Minister called on all sides to do all possible to bring the fighting to a halt. “These confrontations must stop, this slaughter must end. Let us love one another, let us solve our disagreements through dialogue and not weapons. Our weapons should be directed only at the occupation,” he said.

No, this is not Iraq. This what daily life is like in Gaza and the rival factions are Hamas and Fatah. The New York Times doesn't call this a civil war. The U.N. has no opinion. A former U.S. President blames the Arab-on-Arab violence on Israel, which he likens to Apartheid South Africa. And the Palestinian Prime Minister?

He wants this slaughter to end so they can get back to their real mission: slaughtering Jews.