What do we want? Jihad. When do we want it? Now.
One of the Palestinian splinter groups to gain new prominence in recent days has been the Ahmed Abu Rish Brigades
, a Fatah offshoot
largely confined to the central and southern Gaza Strip.It was the Abu Rish Brigades that spurred the wave of internal kidnappings and clashes
when they abducted the Gaza police chief, Ghazi al-Jabali, on July 16 in protest, they said, at Palestinian Authority corruption.
They gained international notoriety later that day when they briefly abducted and held four French aid workers
in breach of a Palestinian taboo against harming or harassing foreign humanitarian workers and journalists.
"We didn't kidnap them; we only held them as our guests
," said a group spokesman, using the nom de guerre Abu Haron, this week. "We didn't even know at first that they were French. We were shocked then, because the French are a friendly nation
Although it professes personal loyalty to Mr Arafat, the aims of the Abu Rish Brigades are much closer to those of the Islamic group Hamas than they are to those of the Fatah leadership
, which recognises Israel and professes a desire for peace with it.
"Our banner is jihad everywhere, even Chechnya
," Abu Haron said. "Our aim is to liberate every piece of land in Palestine, including what is now called Israel
. Though we are part of Fatah, Amar Sitta never listened to Fatah. He only listened to what God told him to do. We only hear from Fatah when they tell us to do the right thing. When we hear them say the wrong thing we ignore it
So why stay in Fatah at all? Palestinian factions are more like extended Arab clans than political parties: you might disagree with your family, you may even fight with it, but you never leave it
.Faction listens to Arafat only when he says what it wants to hearMy favourite part of the Abu Rish Brigades logic is "we wouldn't have kidnapped them if we'd known they were French but we didn't kidnap them anyway." They can definitely govern Palestine, these guys.