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      Gaza Commander Slams 'Monstrous' Hamas Abuse of Civilians

      The IDF strongly criticizes Hamas for endangering civilians, while Fatah alleges exploitation. Hamas promises restitution.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 1/22/2009, 7:19 PM

      IDF Gaza Division commander, Brigadier-General Ayal Eisenberg slammed Hamas on Thursday, calling the group's abuse of civilians “monstrous.” Hamas chose to fight among civilians, he said.

      "Sometimes it's incomprehensible how monstrous and inhuman Hamas terrorists' behavior can be, if by sending a woman with a Koran in one hand and a grenade in the other, or by using a child to carry weapons from one place to the next” Eisenberg said. He also charged Hamas with planting bombs under civilian homes without the residents' knowledge.

      Eisenberg put responsibility for civilian casualties on Hamas. “They chose the battlefield,” he said.

      Despite Hamas claims to the contrary, many Gaza civilians are both enraged and terrified of the group, he said. When Israel announced a ceasefire, many ran and attempted to escape, he added.

      PA: Hamas Exploiting Casualties
      Officials in the Judea- and Samaria-based Fatah-led branch of the Palestinian Authority slammed the rival Hamas-led PA as well. Hamas is exploiting the deaths of Gaza Arabs in order to avoid compromise or dialogue with Fatah, said PA spokesman Yasir Abed Rabo.

      Hamas is trying to conceal plans to separate Gaza from Judea and Samaria in order to maintain exclusive control over the region, Abed Rabo charged. He termed the alleged plan “the most dangerous in the history of the Palestinian people.”

      Fatah “will not allow the creation of a separatist entity, no matter what the price,” he threatened.

      Hamas to Pay Victims, Homeless
      The Hamas-led PA in Gaza announced Thursday that it would grant financial compensation to anyone who lost an immediate relative in fighting or whose house was destroyed. Those who lost a family member will be awarded 1,000 euro, those wounded will get 500 euro and those left homeless will get 4,000 euro, officials said.

      Hamas plans to distribute at least 35 million dollars in compensation money, officials said. Gaza is expected to get billions of dollars from the international community in order to finance the reconstruction of buildings and infrastructure.