Leaders move to end Gaza violence

Security forces to be deployed as fighting continues and interior minister resigns.

    Sunday's ceasefire between Hamas and Fatah disintegrated within a few hours [AFP]
    Barghouti told reporters that forces would receive command from a joint operation room and that all security forces would come under this deployment based on an agreement with Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader and Palestinian president.

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    Al Qawsami said he had resigned because he had not been granted adequate authority and accused the government of not taking security seriously.

    "I told all parties I cannot accept being a minister without authority," he said.
    He said his resignation was final and effective immediately.
    Al Qawsami is an independent whose appointment had been the subject of lengthy talks between the two coalition partners.
    As Hamas's choice, he was to have overseen security services, but officials said the former academic was frustrated by competition from powerful Fatah rivals for control of the armed contingents.
    Nour Odeh, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Gaza, said the resignation was a merely a reflection of the status quo as al Qawsami had no control of the security forces that he was supposed to lead.
    No law and order
    Despite repeated promises from Palestinian leaders, security services have proved incapable of imposing law and order in the increasingly chaotic territory where kidnappings and factional feuding have increased.
    On Monday, Gaza residents remained home, afraid to venture into the lawless streets. Universities closed their doors and schools sent the few students that made it to their classrooms home.

    Al-Qawsami said he could not accept being
    a minister without authority [AFP]

    The headquarters of the intelligence services came under fire and the office of Maher Miqdad, a prominent Fatah leader, was attacked and destroyed.
    Two Fatah activists were killed and a third Palestinian shot dead in Gaza City, while a civilian died in a market during Fatah-Hamas clashes in the southern town of Khan Yunis, security and medical sources said.
    Civilians vacated the streets as the threat of a downward spiral of violence became more apparent.
    More than 50 people have been wounded in the two days of violence. The two sides accuse each other of starting the fighting.
    Earlier, sources in Fatah said tensions stoked by the renewed violence with Hamas could lead to the collapse of the unity government within days.
    Palestinians had hoped the recent deployment of Palestinian police in Gaza under a new security plan would curb growing lawlessness and ease factional tensions.
    Under Sunday's ceasefire agreement, brokered by Egypt, both sides were to have ordered their armed members off the streets, a day before Palestinians mark the "Naqba", or what they describe as the tragedy that befell them when Israel was created in 1948.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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