Monday, March 06, 2006

Hamas "Coup Attempt"

“I say to you in the name of the president that we (Palestinian factions) have no way other than dialogue. Our cause is one.”
Tayeb Abdel Rahim (senior aid to PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas)

The Washington Post reports that apparently the one cause may not be big enough for both Hamas and Fatah:
Hamas legislators voted on Monday to revoke all decisions made by the previous Palestinian parliament at its final session last month, including laws that gave President Mahmoud Abbas wider powers to appoint some judges.

The move was seen as a challenge to Abbas, whose once-dominant Fatah faction suffered a resounding defeat at the hands of Hamas in parliamentary elections on January 25.

A senior Abbas aide accused Hamas of attempting to oust the Palestinian president.

"We see this as a coup attempt to change the regime and they (Hamas) have to seriously reconsider their decisions," said Tayeb Abdel-Rahim.
For now at least, the 'coup' amounts to nothing more than playing legislative games:
In the final session of the previous parliament on February 13, majority Fatah members pushed through an amendment to an existing law, giving Abbas power to appoint judges to a constitutional court without seeking legislative approval.

..."The law is very clear. It gives us the right to endorse or reject the resolutions or the decisions of that session," senior Hamas lawmaker Mahmoud Ramahi told Reuters before the annulment vote was taken.
Of course, it's not as if Fatah is standing pat and ready to share power either. They are trying to get around some of the measures that Hamas wants as well:

The Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council was forced to postpone a session scheduled for Saturday in Ramallah after Fatah gunmen threatened to storm the building and beat the newly-appointed speaker, Aziz Dweik.

A new session has been set for Monday, but sources close to Hamas said it too could be delayed because of increased threats by Fatah gunmen.

On Thursday some 20 gunmen belonging to Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, arrived at the PLC compound and fired extensively into the air. The gunmen shouted slogans against Dweik, accusing him of trying to dismiss some Fatah- affiliated employees of the council.

It was the second time since the new parliament was sworn in two weeks ago that Fatah gunmen had threatened to harm Dweik, who was appointed by Hamas.

Considering the fact that we have here two terrorist gangs fighting for power, as opposed to the situation in Iraq, if there is going to be a civil war breaking out in the Middle East--this is where it's going to be .

Update: The Jerusalam Post has some more detail on what laws were revoked:

o Abbas' power to revoke laws
o Abbas' power to dissolve the PLC
o Abbas' power to appoint a 9-man constitutional court (Fatah affiliated) without legislative (Hamas) approval
o The court would have the power to veto legislation
o The court would arbitrate disputes between Abbas and the Hamas controlled cabinet and parliament
o A law making it possible to appoint a new secretary general from Fatah for the council to oversee the administrative management of the new parliament.

Technorati Tag: and and and and .

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