In a move seen as widening of the gap between the governmental and the presidential Palestinian establishments, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered thousands of police deployed throughout the Gaza Strip to restore order after fighting between rival armed groups.
The order from Abbas came hours after the Hamas government defied the president by deploying its own special security force onto Gaza streets on Wednesday.
"President Abbas has ordered all security forces, all branches to deploy men in the streets to restore order," a senior security official, said.
The official who asked to be anonymous told Reuters, it would be the largest such deployment in Gaza since the intensive deployment of police prior to the unilateral pullout of the Israeli settlers in September of 2005.
On Wednesday, defying a ban by Abbas, the Palestinian Minister of Interior Sa’ed Siyam of Hamas announced that the controversial special security force will be deployed in the Gaza Strip to maintain security.
While Siyam confirmed that the force is composed of Palestinians of various political factions, about 30 members of this new force, armed and wearing military fatigues, patrolled the market of Nusseirat refugee camp, a Hamas stronghold in the Gaza Strip.
Some wore headbands emblazoned with the name "Qassam", after Hamas’ armed wing – the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
Apparently Hamas is playing a role similar to Fatah’s regarding the control over the security forces. The existing Palestinian security force is controlled by Fatah and was built in the past ten years to serve its interests. Having Hamas in office would create a conflict, which had Hamas to form its own security force.
Palestinian residents are concerned that clashes if erupted between the two forces may lead to a bloody conflict.