Saturday, June 23, 2007

Hamas war chief reveals his plans for Gaza peace

The man now controlling Gaza City talks exclusively to Mitchell Prothero about his plans

Sunday June 24, 2007
The Observer

"......'He said if we entered his compound, he would kill himself.'
'Abu Obieda begged him not to commit such a sin,' interjected Abu Khalid, one of his lieutenants. 'He promised him that he and all of his men would be protected if they just surrendered. And finally they did. And all of them are still alive and free in their homes.' Fatah officials in Gaza confirm the story but asked that the commander not be identified for fear of shaming him......

.....'The Fatah men we fought are not my enemy,' said Abu Obieda. 'They are just soldiers like any of us here in this room. The decisions they had to follow came from outside of Gaza: from Ramallah, from the Israelis, from America. I do not hate the men of Fatah; they are our brothers.'

Abu Obieda sees the fighting as a failure by the Palestinian people on both sides of the political divide. 'We are not happy,' he said. 'I am not proud to have defeated and killed the men of Fatah. This is a shame on all Palestinians because we love each other.'

The problem, he explained, was a corrupt security regime led by the Fatah security chief, Mohammed Dahlan, who had led repeated attacks, arrests and executions of Hamas members over the past decade.......

He said Israel 'forced us to this point, but we are not ready to do it again. People need help; they need jobs, money and police. They don't need fighting between brothers.'

Despite his months of planning for such a war, Abu Obieda was surprised by the speed of the victory: 'I expected it to take one month. That is what we planned for and trained for. But then at the beginning, all the Fatah commanders escaped their compounds in ambulances and left for Egypt. They left their men to die. Who could do that?'......

.... 'They all had left,' Abu Obieda said. 'The Fatah fighters are brave but would you fight for a commander who left you alone to die for his war?'

He confirmed that some top Fatah officials with links to Dahlan were arrested and investigated. He insisted all had been released but admitted some summary executions happened during the fighting without authorisation.'Hamas does not do that, but during the battle some men who were very hated for killing Hamas members were executed by the family members of their victims. We have put a stop to that, for it is wrong. Now any Fatah leader can return and will be safe.'....."

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