Palestinian schisms

On Sunday there were four explosions in Gaza City that destroyed the cars of leaders of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad (IJ).  Nearby were scrawled slogans of Islamic State (IS) that has taken an anti-Hamas line, for two reasons; first Hamas has not declared allegiance to the IS and made itself a “province of the IS”, as the Islamist rebels in Sinai have done.  Second, IJ is a fully controlled proxy of Shia Iran and Hamas is now receiving funds from Iran, in an on again, off again relationship.  The main enemy of IS, the Sunni extremist organization, is Shia Iran, and even though Hamas and IJ are Sunni, they have been accepting funds, weapons and missiles from Iran for years.  In fact, whenever there is any conflict between Fatah, the main Palestinian faction in the West Bank, with Hamas, the Fatah call out “Shia, Shia,” which is considered a gross insult.

After a brief “investigation” a Hamas spokesman declared that IS is not active in Gaza and therefore the explosions must have been carried out by Israel.  That’s strange, because IS has been reported to be present in Gaza previously and gaining strength and they are active in nearby Sinai, where they are fighting the Egyptian Army.  Also, car bombs are not a typical weapon of the IDF, but rather missiles fired from drones or helicopters (to avoid civilian casualties).  So we can be quite sure that it was not Israeli forces that exploded these cars, since if it had been the terrorist leaders would have been in them at the time and would have been killed.

Gaza is a very small area, the size of Washington DC or The City of London, with a population of ca. 1.8 million people.   Yet, within it there are at least 7 radical terrorist groups, Hamas that is a Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, IJ that is an Iranian proxy, IS that is fighting for an Islamic Caliphate in Syria and Iraq, Fatah that is a part of the PLO and is suppressed in Gaza, PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) which is a secular Marxist revolutionary organization, Tanzim that is a military affiliate of Fatah, and the Popular Committees that are groups of local militants that often cooperate with Hamas.  No wonder people think the Middle East is complex.  Which of these Palestinian organizations do you support?

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