Fatah and Hamas Spokesmen Both Identify Outside Forces, "Fifth Column," Behind Civil War
June 18, 2007 (LPAC)--In interviews with CNN on Sunday, June 17, spokesmen for both Hamas and Fatah identified a manipulated operation where "outside forces" armed and incited fights between the two groups. Speaking for the PLO President Mahmoud Abbas was Saeb Erekat, a longtime PLO leader who helped to forge the Oslo Accords, and other negotiations for a Palestinian state; and speaking for Hamas was spokesman, Ahmed Yousef.
While both expressed the two sides of the now unbridgeable gulf, with Yousef asserting that Ismail Haniyeh is still the Prime Minister, and Erekat calling the Hamas actions in Gaza a "coup d'etat," both men had a common message -- there are outside forces that are behind the civil war breakdown.
Some regional leaders are saying that both sides should unite in an investigation that goes after the "outside forces" behind the destabilization.
In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Erekat refused to name "Syria and Iran," which were named by Blitzer as the provocateurs, and said, instead, "there is a saying in my mind that this region has never missed an opportunity to exploit Palestinians without exploiting them.
I really believe that we are being exploited. I really believe that is what happening in Nahr el-Bared in northern Lebanon, it is part of what is happening in Gaza, what is happening in the bigger picture in this region ... do I have evidence to refer to this country or to this group or that? No, I don't. But I know when I see the streets of Gaza, when I see these gunmen, when I see these hundreds of millions of dollars at a time when President Abbas could not pay salaries for our police forces ... where did these guns and arms and state-of-art" equipment come from?
On the Hamas side, Yousef claimed that Hamas was not at war against Abbas, but against a "fifth column" that was out to destroy the Unity Government. Yousef said, "We do still believe that Prime Minister Haniyeh is the legitimate prime minister.
And the legitimacy is in Gaza. And if there is a mistake that has been committed, or any wrongdoing here in Gaza, there is something in the constitution, how to correct and fix these things...."
"[t]his is not a civil war," Yousef added. "But there are certain elements, what they call it, the fifth column, who try to disturb the government all the time, and nobody is able to actually dismantle these groups. We failed in strengthening the law and order and ending the chaos."
The violence of the weekend that led to Abbas dissolving the Unity Government was actually an attempt by Hamas to carry out a "surgical strike" against the this "fifth column."