Gaza: “Welcome to Hamastan!”

Gaza: “Welcome to Hamastan!”

Fotoservizio pubblicato da “Foreign Policy” di Agosto:

Class of 2008: Masked Palestinian fighters of the hard-line, Hamas-affiliated Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) line up during a military graduation ceremony on August 7 in the Gaza Strip. Around 50 militants graduated during the ceremony.

Hamas has ruled Gaza since June 2007, when its fighters seized control from Fatah, the rival faction led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Tensions rising: Fighting has broken out anew in recent days between Hamas and a Gaza clan affiliated with Fatah.

Under fire: Last Saturday, two members of Hamas and eight members of the clan died in the violence.

On notice: Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defense Minister, has vowed to take the fight to Hamas in Gaza despite a shaky, month-long truce. Hamas says it is “prepared for all options.”

Leap of faith: Israeli officials accuse Hamas of using the truce to smuggle weapons and prepare for a new round of escalation.

Where there’s smoke…: Hamas hard-liners say that Israel has not honored its obligations under the truce and warn that they may soon resort to military action.

Another round? “The Zionist occupation (Israel) has not yet agreed to the demand to release our prisoners so our fighters are preparing for the next round in which we will try to abduct more Israeli soldiers to swap them for our hero prisoners,” a PRC spokesman told Reuters.

Hanging by a thread: Israel and Fatah, meanwhile, have stepped up a campaign of arrests of Hamas members in the West Bank. Hamas has responded with arrests of Fatah members in Gaza.

Warning: Barak told Labor Party supporters Monday that “anyone who misses the military operations in Gaza mustn’t worry, they will come.”

Touché: A Hamas spokesman said Tuesday that Barak’s comments were “stupid statements.”

Finish line: A Hamas militant at the training course crawls under the wire.

Collapse: Will the Gaza cease-fire fall apart?

School’s out: Wearing T-shirts that say “the resistance” in Arabic, Hamas’s newly minted fighters raise their weapons in a celebratory cheer. It looks increasingly likely that they will be using them soon.

Photo: Abid Katib/Getty Images

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