The massive rebellion in Egypt has sparked sympathy rallies across the region and the rest of the world, with rallies reported everywhere from Columbus, Ohio to Gaza City. As with seemingly everything though, the prospect of free elections in Egypt has opened up another fault line between the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Hamas has yet to publicly take a position on the forthcoming regime change in neighboring Egypt, but has allowed some major anti-Mubarak protests in Gaza. It is widely believed that a democratic government in Egypt would also mean one that would ease the crippling blockade against Gaza, which Mubarak has eagerly cooperated with.
But in the West Bank, where Fatah rules the roost, it was a different story entirely. Fatah security forces broke up an attempted anti-Mubarak protest of hundreds, then eagerly supported a pro-Mubarak rally in its place. The pro-Mubarak rally was attended by 10 demonstrators and 12 police.
The measures likely reflect not only the pragmatic value of regime change in Egypt, but also philosophical differences. The last free election the Palestinian Authority had saw Hamas score a decisive victory only to be overruled by Fatah. It is therefore unsurprising that the Fatah faction would see an outbreak of democracy in the region not only as unneccesary to their goals, but a serious threat to their long-term rule.
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