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Ten reasons why Fatah collapsed in Gaza

06/19/2007

In three days of fighting the security forces of PA collapsed like a cartoon in Gaza. Ten reasons are behind this very shocking collapse:


First: Weapons - Hamas had new very good weapons that they smuggled in from outside, while the PA security forces had only the 1994 old weapons that they were not allowed by Israel to renew, while on other hand they avoided smuggling weapons in order not to violate the agreements with Israel. Moreover they were trained to be forces for internal order preservation, and not for fighting.

Second: The fighting strategy: Hamas was free of stable positions, and therefore free to attack and to withdraw without high causalities. PA security forces were located in fixed positions, which caused a lot of causalities, damage, and then surrender.

Third: Hamas was well prepared, but the PA security forces, as it turned out, were not prepared for such a war, disproving Hamas claims that they were preparing to crush Hamas later on.

Fourth: Part of Fateh did not fight besides the PA security forces, as they considered what going on to be a forbidden battle, as long as occupation continued.

Fifth: The absences of the leaders: Fateh leaders: (Mohammed Dahlan, Rashid Abu Shback, and Samir Mashharawai were in Cairo when the fight began, and instead of coming immediately to Gaza in order to lead their members, they continued their stay there. Also, some other PA security forces leaders escaped a few months ago from Gaza to West Bank.

Sixth: Hamas was able to recruit supporters from inside the PA security forces. Those supporters helped Hamas finish the coup d'etat quickly and effectively.

Seventh: The repeated declarations in the last few months by United States and Israeli governments about possible security support to President Abbas's security forces, was harmful to these forces. It presented them to part of the Palestinians (including part of Fateh) as collaborators with USA and Israel against their people. The irony on other hand, was that no support at all was given to Abu Mazen's forces after all these declarations, except for arms shipments.

Eight: Abu Mazen did not give early orders to his forces in Gaza to fight against Hamas, an to leave their stable locations in order to win the battle.

Ninth: The history of the security forces in Gaza from 1994, which made part of the people hate them, including the clashes between them, their participation in corrupt activities, the torture and humiliation they practiced against prisoners including Hamas ones in 1994 to 1999, and their participation as initiators of security chaos there.

Tenth: Hamas fighters were young and dynamic, while PA security forces were old and middle aged retired fighters who were looking for rewards and not new fighting.

This all left them without fighting spirit, and gave Hamas the capability to defeat them.

Adding to all of that, that these security forces suffered from the absence of salaries beginning in January 2006, and from low salaries prior to that.

Walid Salem


Walid Salem is the director of Panorama, the Centre for the Dissemination of Democracy and Community Development, East Jerusalem office. He is also the author of books and articles on such issues as democracy, citizenship, youth rights, civil society development, Israeli-Palestinian peace-building, and the right of return.

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