By David Dolan
Ever since the radical Palestinian Hamas movement was formed in 1988, the Islamic group has waged an internal battle with the ruling PLO Fatah party to capture the hearts and minds of the Palestinian people. Opinion surveys in recent years have consistently shown that the Iranian-supported group is at least as popular as Fatah among the Palestinian people, who elected a Hamas-dominated legislature in 2006.
The struggle between Hamas and the rival Fatah party grew even more intense following the violent Hamas takeover of the small coastal Gaza Strip five years ago. Recent attempts by Fatah-linked Palestinian Authority leaders to form some sort of a national unity government with Hamas has only further intensified the fight, with violent clashes between supporters of both groups breaking out in several locations. Bystanders said on at least one occasion, Palestinian Authority security forces stood by as the street battles intensified. PA leaders, who have announced their intention to unilaterally establish a Palestinian state later this year, are trying to mend the rift before a statehood declaration is made. Israeli leaders oppose any such unilateral declaration.
Hamas blames Abbas for Palestinian disunity - AFP
Abbas: Iran blocking reconciliation - YNET News
Ayalon: There's no other solution than to topple Hamas - Jerusalem Post
Israel Strikes Gaza in Response to Rockets - VOA News
Independents to update Hamas, Fatah on Cairo talks - Ma'an News Agency