Analysis by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani
CAIRO, Aug 22 (IPS) - Recent weeks have seen the worst fighting between rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas since the latter's takeover of the Gaza Strip last summer. Hamas accuses the "treasonous faction" within Fatah -- which worked with U.S. military intelligence in last year's failed bid to destroy the resistance group -- of instigating the violence.
"Hamas's accusations are understandable," Abdelaziz Shadi, political science professor and coordinator of the Israeli studies programme at Cairo University told IPS. "Instability in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip would be in Fatah's interests."
In the 14 months since Hamas seized control of Gaza from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) in a pre-emptive coup, after winning elections in 2006, mutual animosity has been largely confined to a war of words. In recent weeks, however, the dispute between the two movements -- which now head rival governments in Gaza and Ramallah -- escalated into open conflict.