Fatah attack 298.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
The question that many Palestinians are asking these days is: How come Fatah and the Palestinian security forces, which are loyal to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, are unable to defeat Hamas?
Fatah has 20,000-30,000 militiamen in the Gaza Strip. In addition, there are about 40,000 policemen and security officers who belong to at least a dozen different security forces. Almost all of them are affiliated with Fatah and report to Abbas.
Hamas, on the other hand, has about 15,000 militiamen - half of them members of its armed wing, Izaddin Kassam, and the other half working for the paramilitary Executive Force.
Abbas's loyalists are better equipped and trained and most of them receive salaries on a regular basis.
Many of the Fatah security personnel have received training in several Arab and EU countries. Others are said to have been trained by the Americans and Russians.
By contrast, Hamas members only receive local training at the hands of their own officers. The majority of the Hamas militiamen can't travel to Arab or Islamic countries for security reasons.
As the events of the past few days have shown, not all the members of the PA security forces and Fatah militias are involved in the fighting with Hamas.
Ahmed Hils, a top Fatah commander in the Gaza Strip, said his group never took a decision to confront Hamas. Fatah, he cautioned, will disown any of its members who take part in the fighting and killing of innocent people.
Some Hamas and Fatah operatives in the Gaza Strip have accused followers of PA National Security Adviser Muhammad Dahlan of instigating the latest cycle of violence.
They claimed that Dahlan's supporters in Fatah and some of the PA security forces were trying to drag Hamas into an all-out confrontation with the help of the US and Israel.