Masked Palestinian gunmen barged into a meeting of the Fatah Party in Ramallah and opened fire into the air, promptly ending the meeting of the
party's various factions who were discussing the current developments of the Israeli/Palestine conflict in which Abbas had expressed high hopes for a
formal cease fire. Mahmoud Abbas was reportedly no where near the meeting when the masked men, alledgely members of the Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade
entered with weapons drawn. No one was injured by the group of men but their actions suggest that even though some Fatah leaders may support Abbas,
the younger more militant generation are not onboard with his peace plan.
The gunmen, from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a violent group affiliated with Fatah, rampaged through the room and shouted slogans charging the
Fatah leadership with complicity in widespread corruption.
Shocked participants ducked and scrambled for the exits as the intruders, brandishing assault rifles, began throwing chairs around, ordering everyone
The meeting broke up in disarray, and as the Fatah members fled, the gunmen fired in the air outside the hall for several minutes. No one was hurt,
but the gunmen made their point - the session did not reconvene.
"Our demands are for change and reform," said Menwer al-Aqraa, an Al Aqsa commander in Ramallah, without elaborating. He said, however, that his group
would not disarm, though it remains loyal to the Palestinian Authority.
Abbas and his top aides were nowhere near the meeting, but the message was clear - Abbas may have the old-time Fatah institutions behind him, but at
the lower, younger levels, the picture is one of turmoil and competition. During the past four years of violence, the gunman, not the bespectacled,
gray-haired politician, has become the icon of Palestinian leadership.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
The road to peace in the Middle East is one that will constantly be travelled for a long time to come since people in the area have fundamentally
different ideas on how to reach peace and are some obviously don't want peace at all. Many Palestinians truly want peace in the region and are
willing to make sacrifices for it, but the majority of Palestinians seem to be unsatisfied with the progress and the price they are paying, citing
poverty, poor economy and regular deaths of Palestinians. Mahmoud Abbas has a very difficult job to fulfill. He is walking a tightrope between
Israel and his own people trying hard to please all sides. I personally fear for Mr. Abbas's life from the likes of Hamas and Al-Aqsa who wouldn't
hestitate to assassinate him if he seems to be too leniant with his compromises to Israel.