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23 Jun, 2007 04:51

Gaza confrontation far from over

The bloodshed and battle on the streets of Gaza is over for now, but the fight between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and rival Hamas faction is far from finished.

Mr Abbas has authorised a review of all private organisations in Palestine – a strong sign he intents to clamp down on Hamas' broad network of social and welfare organisations. But Hamas has vowed to stand firm declaring its rule over a half of the Palestinian state.

Dozens of Russians have been evacuated from Gaza, but many remain, including Russian women married to Palestinians.

“We are very worried about the situation, that military actions in Gaza might come here. Palestinians who have lived here for a long time are more comfortable with the situation than us women who have come from Russia or the former Soviet states. The difference between us is that we are strangers living here, whereas the Palestinians are fighting for their homeland,” said Svetlana Sarhan, Russian woman living in Ramallah.

She said she was sad when a few of her Gaza friends flew to Moscow to escape the violence, but she understood the reasons.