March 28, 2007

Sliding Toward Somalia in Gaza

From Sliding Toward Somalia in Gaza:

The bullet-riddled body of Arafat Nufal, an officer in the Palestinian Preventive Security Service, was found Friday hanging from a pole in the Al Moraka district near Gaza. The story of his murder, which began when he tried to reclaim his stolen car, illustrates how Gaza is becoming a Palestinian Somalia, as Palestinian politicians celebrate the artificial unity deal. Since the disengagement, the vehicles of the Palestinian security forces have become all the rage for the car thieves of Gaza, who often sell them to Hamas.

According to the human rights group B'Tselem, 36 Palestinians were killed in infighting in February. Seven people were killed in the past weekend. A UN worker who recently visited Gaza says the situation there has deteriorated. "You see militants at every other junction," he says. "Everybody knows who's holding Alan Johnston, the BBC correspondent kidnapped two weeks ago. It's a large family, and they're after money. Instead of surrounding the premises and acting against them, the security forces are negotiating with them," said Z., a Fatah leader in northern Gaza.