Fatah 'hawks' use Israeli tactics to keep order in Gaza
This woman's anger, however, was levelled at a new Palestinian 'iron fist' policy - not at Israel. Her family had built an extra room on a tiny plot of vacant sandy land. Armed and masked Palestinian 'police' had just flattened the paltry structure, saying the plot belonged to the Palestinian state-in- waiting. 'We trust our leaders. But what of my tragedy,' cried Manzouna al Araj. Her son said: 'We were all colleagues in prison. Our leadership should help us.'
As the delay in implementation of the Gaza-Jericho peace accords drags on, the proposed self-rule areas exist in legal limbo. Yesterday, Yasser Arafat, the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, suggested that agreement on terms for withdrawal would be reached when he meets Shimon Peres, the Israeli Foreign Minister, in Cairo on Sunday, although doubt was cast on this by Yossi Sarid, Israel's peace negotiator. 'I don't think that in Cairo the agreement will be signed at this stage,' Mr Sarid said.
In the meantime Fatah, the main faction of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, has implemented its own peremptory way of keeping law and order in Gaza.
These Palestinians see no shame in using Israeli methods against their own people. 'We have no prisons, no courts, no law. What can we do?' asks Hassanain Zanoon, the Fatah leader in Rafah. Factional in-fighting was punished recently by placing a refugee camp under curfew. 'Israelis destroyed houses which belonged to our fighters. We do it because they are built on our government land,' says Mr Zanoon. 'It's different. If we don't prevent people building on it now there will be no space for roads or markets. It will be chaos.'
Mr Zanoon's small bare office is Rafah's police station, court and social services bureau, manned by ex-prisoners, working for no pay, serving Mr Arafat's cause by keeping what they term 'order' until he arrives. They issue summonses to 'criminals' to come for 'interrogation'. Committees of 'specialists' then decide if the punishment fits the crime and Fatah 'hawks' - the group's armed wing - implement the sentence.
Drug dealers are shot in the knee and gun-runners placed under house arrest. 'We have many problems to solve. These problems were never solved by the Israelis,' says Mr Zanoon, passing a note to a 'hawk' with an M16 rifle.
Solemnly, the 30-year-old explains that the office had just summoned a trader selling Walkers Highland Shortbread that had passed its sell-by date. The merchandise was destroyed. A man who had beaten his wife was summonsed. 'We asked him to come here and he promised not to hit her again and signed an agreement. We are keeping an eye on him now. He is treating her well.'
Electricity bills, like tax bills, have always been torn up by most Gazans, loath to put money into Israeli coffers. Now the Palestinian leadership is helping Israel to collect, knowing people must get used to paying taxes. 'We don't impose collective punishment by cutting everyone off - only those who can afford to pay,' says Mr Zanoon.
The PLO law and order effort is being hampered by a new problem, however: rebellion among its own ranks of Fatah Hawks. A break-away group named after a 'martyr', Abu Rish, has declared new war on the Israelis. Now the mainstream Gaza leadership is contemplating disciplining the Abu Rish faction. Mr Arafat cannot afford such in-fighting in his own ranks.
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Orphan kangaroos spend Christmas without their parents
Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Isis 'did not shoot down Jordan war plane' before capturing pilot, says US
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...