Abbas dissolves Palestinian government

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has dissolved the Palestinian government and declared a state of emergency across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The decision comes after Hamas seized strongholds belonging to the President's Fatah movement in the Ga

After a day of meetings at Abbas' headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the Palestinian President dissolved the government and has also fired the Palestinian PM Ismail Haniya. It literary means that Mahmoud Abbas is now in full control of the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian President says he will form a new government and is considering calling early parliamentary elections.

There is reportedly no official reaction to the statement from the Israeli government so far.

However, there is reaction from the American government. The U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that the Bush administration does support the Palestinian ‘Moderates’ who intend to negotiate peace with Israel. But Israel would be possibly concerned if any kind of peace can be made with the Palestinian President, because the question arises how much control he has over the Palestinian population.

The fact is that, despite the announced ceasefire, Hamas stormed the last Fatah compound on the Gaza-Israel border and took control of the Gaza Strip. Fourteen people were killed and 80 wounded on Thursday in a battle for one of the most important security installations in the Strip. Hamas gunmen dragged rival Fatah security officers from the building, into the street, and executed them.

Militants and civilians then looted the Preventive Security compound, hauling out computers, documents, office equipment, furniture and TVs. Electricity and telephone lines were cut and roads leading to the complex were blocked.

Also on Thursday Hamas pointed its guns at three other key command centres, including the National Security and Intelligence Service compounds. Rocket-propelled grenades were fired at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Gaza compound.

For the first time in five days of fierce fighting, Abbas ordered his elite presidential guard to strike back. But his forces crumbled fast under the onslaught of the better-armed and better-disciplined Hamas fighters.

Abbas’ Fatah movement has threatened to carry the fighting to the West Bank, where Hamas is weak. They arrested several Hamas activists in the towns of Jenin, Nablus, Jericho, Ramallah and Bethlehem.

In Nablus, masked security agents and Fatah gunmen rode together in cars, searching for Hamas members. Dozens stormed the office of several Hamas members of Parliament and threw furniture and documents into the street.

Meanwhile in Cairo, the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, called for the fighting to end immediately.

“I call for a ceasefire immediately and for the Palestinians to co-operate more with the Egyptian officials from the Egyptian delegation (of mediators) who have been making a great effort. If those efforts are not supported by the different Palestinian factions (Hamas and Fatah) who are fighting, the outcome will be a disaster,” stressed Amr Moussa.

On Friday, foreign ministers of the Arab League countries will hold an emergency meeting.

As for the Russian population of Gaza, Viktor Simakov, a Representative of the Russian Federation in Palestinian Authority, says Russians are fleeing the area.

“Russian citizens living in Gaza Strip requested the Russian mission in the Palestinian Autonomy to move them and their families to safety due to recent escalation of violence. There will be some problems. Most probably we will not be able to evacuate them through the checkpoint. The only other way is to Israel, that might be impossible for the male Russians since the Israeli policy is not to let any male Palestinian citizens whatever their nationality through their border. For the time being we do not see any danger for the Russian mission working in Gaza Strip and don’t plan to evacuate it,” he said.

Hamas and Fatah have warred sporadically since Hamas took power from Fatah last year, but never with such intensity. Hamas reluctantly brought Fatah into a governing coalition in March to quell an earlier round of violence, but the uneasy partnership began crumbling away last month.

A Hamas military victory in Gaza would split Palestinian territory into two. Hamas would control the Gaza Strip while Western-backed Fatah would rule the West Bank.

Aleksey Malashenko of the Carnegie Moscow Centre shared with Russia Today an opinion that a certain agreement between the rival factions still will be reached.

To read the full version of the RT interview with Aleksey Malashenko please follow this link