Eastern Mediterranean 2007: Hamas’s takeover of Gaza
In 2005 Israel handed the Gaza Strip over to the Palestinian Authority, but peace efforts were undermined when the militant faction Hamas defeated the more moderate Fatah in Palestinian elections the following year and refused to commit to either non-violence or the recognition of Israel. Fatah and Hamas soon turned to fighting, most notably in Gaza, which fell to Hamas in June 2007. As a result, the Palestinian Authority effectively became split between Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank.
11 Dec 2006–31 May 2009 Fatah–Hamas conflict▲
Following Hamas’s victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election and its subsequent refusal to cooperate with the international order, the previously dominant faction Fatah, as well as a number of other Palestinian factions, refused to join it in a national unity government. This left the newly formed Hamas-dominated government under Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in a stand-off with President Mahmoud Abbas, who had been elected in 2005 and was leader of Fatah. Abbas quickly attempted to consolidate the Palestinian security forces under his control, only for Hamas to form its own parallel security force (the Executive Force). By December 2006 gun battles had broken out between the two factions and in June 2007 Hamas seized control of Gaza. Fighting continued throughout 2008 and into 2009, in both Gaza and the West Bank, resulting in the effective partition of the Palestinian Authority between the two factions.
20 May–7 Sep 2007 Siege of Nahr al-Bared▲
In February 2007 two buses were bombed in the predominantly Christian village of Ain Alak, Lebanon, with Fatah al-Islam militants based in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared being held responsible. General fighting over the camp broke out in May, when Lebanese police attempted to arrest a number of militants, but it took seven military offensives against Nahr al-Bared over 105 days before the camp finally fell and the Lebanese government was able to claim victory. The conflict—which was accompanied by a number of smaller scale clashes across Lebanon—saw over 170 Lebanese soldiers killed, more than 400 wounded, and dozens of civilians dead for 238 militants killed and more than 215 captured. Most of the 31,000 Palestinians at the camp fled the fighting for other camps in the country.
10–15 Jun 2007 Hamas’s takeover of Gaza▲
On 10 June 2007 fighting broke out in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and Fatah—the two factions vying for the leadership of the Palestinian Authority—apparently because Hamas was convinced that Fatah was preparing to deploy the US-funded Palestinian Presidential Guard to take control of the territory. By the night of the 14th Hamas had effectively secured most of Gaza, including Gaza City itself, prompting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah to dismiss the Hamas-dominated unity government and install a new Prime Minister. Abbas’s move was naturally rejected by Hamas, leaving the Palestinian Authority effectively split into two polities: the Fatah-ruled Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank and the Hamas Government in Gaza.