Shahin said his decision was due to the futility of police attempts to prevent the chaos.
The head of the PA's "preventative security" forces, an armed militia affiliated with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, resigned in recent days. The militia chief, Rashid Abu Shabak, was the target of a Hamas attack less than two weeks ago in which six of his bodyguards were killed. Sources close to Abu Shabak say that he did not receive sufficient support from Fatah in his struggle with Hamas. Abu Shabak has reportedly fled Gaza.
Abu Shabak's resignation comes about two weeks after that of Hani Kawasmeh, who held the position of PA Interior Minister. Kawasmeh, whose appointment was a compromise accepted by both Hamas and Fatah, accused PA leaders from both factions of ruining his plan to bring an end to the Gaza violence. Hamas later accused Abu Shabak of deliberately undermining Kawasmeh's efforts.
On Wednesday of last week, the director of the PA police department in Rafah, which straddles Gaza's border with Egypt, resigned from his post. The security chief, Zuheir Shahin, said his decision was due to the deterioration in the security situation in Gaza and the futility of police attempts to prevent the chaos, according to the PA-based Ma'an news agency.
Internecine Violence Continues
Meanwhile, fighting has continued between rival clans and terrorist groups in the Palestinian Authority-controlled Gaza region. This, despite the efforts by Hamas and others to turn the growing violence against Israel and to jump-start inter-factional negotiations. Several local Arabs have been kidnapped in the past week, at least one of whom was found murdered on Sunday. The dead man's body bore signs of torture.
In an effort to deflect criticism, Hamas has blamed Israel for several deaths and shootings in the region in the past several days, despite the lack of any Israeli presence in the respective areas.
Yet Another Fatah-Hamas Ceasefire in the Works?
According to Egyptian officials, senior Hamas terrorists have agreed to participate in talks with other PA terrorist factions in Cairo. PA Deputy Prime Minister Azzam Al-Ahmed, however, said that his faction, Fatah, would not meet with Hamas representatives while in Egypt.
Egyptian officials are hoping to bring together the rival PA factions to negotiate an end to violence in Gaza and other areas currently controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Several previous ceasefires negotiated with the help of Egyptian mediators failed within days.
Analysts explain that Egypt has its own concerns over the escalating violence in Gaza. The ongoing clashes could cause thousands of Gazan civilians to flee to Egypt should the situation deteriorate further, they said.
Egypt has its own concerns over the escalating violence in Gaza.
Hamas Claims to Have Met EU Officials
Senior Hamas terrorist Musa Abu Marzook said recently that Hamas has conducted several diplomatic meetings with leaders of European countries, including Britain. The Europeans were "very impressed," Marzook said, that Hamas "had never fired a single shot" outside of Israel.
Marzook said Hamas officials told European leaders that they are prepared for a hudna, or temporary truce, if Israel agrees to give them Judea, Samaria, and much of Jerusalem. However, he said, Hamas continues to reject proposals that call for a ceasefire in exchange for easing of restrictions and an improved quality of life for local Arabs. Such proposals aim to end Arab resistance, according to the Hamas official.