A walkout of medical staff throughout Gaza has strained services at hospitals and clinics throughout the territory, the latest in a series of crippling strikes that are deepening bitter divisions between Gaza's militant Hamas rulers and loyalists of moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.I am no fan of Fatah, but this strike (unlike the teachers' and public sector workers' strike) is not simply a power play by Fatah but a fairly reasonable reaction to Hamas' meddling in - and politicizing - medical issues.
The strike has forced non-complying doctors to pull double shifts and left residents struggling for treatment, adding to the hardships in a territory suffering from international isolation since Hamas wrested control of Gaza from Fatah-allied security forces in June 2007.
The Medical Workers' Union, dominated by Abbas' Fatah movement, called the strike last week to demand Hamas reinstate workers Fatah says have been fired for their political loyalties. The union said Hamas police have forced some essential staff to report to duty under the threat of arrest.
Hamas has accused Fatah of calling the walkout at state-run hospitals and clinics as a political ploy — but has aggravated the crisis by shutting down private clinics run by striking doctors.
AP even admits that the striking doctors opened up clinics and tried to maintain health care in Gaza during the strike, but it gives Hamas a pass on its crude attempts to end the strike - by arresting, threatening and beating striking doctors and supporting medical staff. Today alone there were numerous examples brought up by Palestine Press Agency, with specific names of victims.
Why are striking doctors being vilified but Hamas not taken to task for these threats and arrests? AP's Ibrahim Barzak is showing yet again where his loyalties lie.