Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hamas buying guns like crazy.

Middle East: Connecting the dots here.

4 Months Into Aid Cutoff, Gazans Barely Scrape By The ordinary Palestinians of Gaza are coping as best they can in a world without salaries and very little money circulating, after the Western cutoff of aid to the Palestinian Authority, which Hamas took over in March. The Authority employs almost 40 percent of those with regular jobs in Gaza. There is not a humanitarian crisis here yet, but one is building. No one knows anyone who is starving, but nearly everyone dependent on government salaries is eating less and less well, with a sharp reduction of chicken, meat and vegetables in a diet that is now based on the cheapest ingredients — beans, potatoes, greens and bread.
Newsweek International:
Fatah and Hamas are still engaged in talks to avert a civil war and reach an agreement on how to deal with Israel on terms that will satisfy the international community. Popular sentiment is behind that process, and many in Gaza believe that tribal and family ties will help prevent a full-blown conflagration. Khaled Abu Hilal, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, insists that "every family has members of both Fatah and Hamas." Yet Abu Hilal also keeps a 9mm Smith & Wesson in his desk drawer—just in case. And a Palestinian arms dealer in Ramallah, who wished to remain anonymous as he offered to sell NEWSWEEK an unsolicited MP5 submachine gun, says that the price of a U.S.-made M-16 on the black market has doubled, from $5,000 to $10,000, since Hamas took power. "Hamas is buying like crazy," the dealer says.

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