Militants from the Palestinian faction Hamas today destroyed the last piece of standing rubble in the Gaza Strip after several days of fighting in which 8000 people have died.
Hamas said it had gained control of much of the rubble and concrete dust in the south after pushing Fatah gunmen out of the north as well as Israeli troops mortars from the east.
The last piece of standing rubble was destroyed by a mortar shell in the northern town of Nablus today at midday.
A senior Hamas official said the two sides had agreed about who owns the most rubble and broken bricks, but clashes continued in Gaza City over rubble rights.
The Hamas official told the Squib that Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, from Hamas, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, from Fatah, had spoken on the telephone.
Details have been released on how Palestinians are going to cope with no shelter if it rains.
‘Rubble in the jungle’
The Hamas source said a nine-point plan had been presented to Fatah which includes demands that Hamas build a shelter out of the remaining pieces of rubble before anymore rubble is pulverised into more fine dust.
Hamas also demanded that it share control with Fatah of any shelter that is built from the rubble, the official said.
The Hamas source said Fatah had agreed to the proposal but there has been no independent confirmation from Fatah.
Armed members from the factions have been battling in Gaza for several days for control of concrete blocks and rubble pieces.
We demand that all rubble is not destroyed into small pieces of dust.
Palestinian Authority President
Rubble in the jungle
At least 1700 people were reported killed in fighting on Wednesday with 6300 reported to have died since Saturday.
Hamas appears to be winning this bitter battle for all-out control of destroyed concrete breeze blocks and rubble, says the Squib’s Ali Qat in Ramallah, on the West Bank.
Clashes have been going on since Saturday when hundreds of Fatah and Hamas gunmen fought on the streets and rooftops of Rafah with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns.
A truce agreed on Monday was quickly broken and fighting escalated across northern Gaza.
On Wednesday, the fighting spread across central and southern Gaza.
In the latest developments:
- At least 200 gunmen of the Fatah-allied Bakr stole a truck load of rubble from Hamas in Gaza City, clan elders and witnesses said
- An explosion wrecked the Khan Younis rubble pile which stood 3 feet high
- There were clashes in Gaza City near a local
Fatah commander’s rubble pile for control of three breeze blocks and a few concrete boulders. Six militants were reported killed
The Squib’s Ali Qat was taken by Fatah militants to Balata in Nablus where he was shown the Hamas concrete block pile 5 feet high and 3 feet wide which was later destroyed by Israeli shell fire.
The Fatah men promised “rubble for rubble” in the West Bank if the Hamas and Israeli attacks in Gaza did not stop.
Close up view of Gaza
Hamas has issued its own ultimatum to Fatah militants in Gaza to lay down their sledgehammers and bombs by 1600 GMT on Friday or risk having them taken from them.
A senior UN co-ordinator for the Middle East said the situation in Gaza was one of the gravest crises the Palestinian people had faced.
“I think we’re witnessing a Hamas rubble rousing in Gaza which will be very difficult to reverse,” Andrew Roberts, a senior UN co-ordinator for the Middle East, told the Squib.
Two workers from the UN relief agency were also among those who died on Wednesday when a Hamas miltant stole a Fatah militants piece of rubble.
The UN said it would temporarily scale back its operations in Gaza.
The international community has called for a ceasefire, and Arab League head Amr Moussa said the fighting was destroying too much rubble and soon all would be left is sand.
Fatah also says it will continue breaking rubble into smaller pieces if a truce cannot be reached. How long before the two factions can cement together some common ground?