Gaza is a Gang War!
The news wires report that, following a fierce gun battle with Fatah forces, Hamas militias have seized control of the border between Gaza and Egypt.
The proper model for understanding what is happening in Gaza today between Fatah and Hamas is a gang war for control of the rackets. Look at South Central or East Los Angeles, any sizeable prison, Baja California or Columbia. Look back at Chicago during Prohibition. Whereever you find an example of criminal thugs fighting each other for control of the rackets, that is the correct model for what is going on now in Gaza.
The PLO has always been a kleptocracy. It set up shop in South Lebanon and robbed the local population there, setting up armed road blocks to extract "taxes," until Arafat and his thugs were chased out by Israel in 1982. They holed up in Tunesia, limiting their racket to squeezing Arab oil-rich regimes for protection money, until the Oslo Accords freed the PLO to take over Gaza and Yehuda and Shomron ("the West Bank"). From then until his death, Yassir Arafat stole billions of dollars of international aid, most of which is still missing, and probably resides in Swiss banks. Naturally, as the successor to Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas wants to wet his beak; but he and his Fatah gang are being challenged for the money by Hamas.
Keep in mind that each of these groups maintains its power to intimidate and rule only by virtue of its militias of otherwise unemployed young men. When Hamas was elected into power, the U.S., the European Union and Israel shut off the tap of "international aid." That does not seem to have stopped either Fatah and Hamas from forming and arming new thug militias. [See "Gaza: Millions for Kalashnikovs, Not a Penny for Economic Development," the Hedghog Blog, May 16, 2006.] Nonetheless, the cutoff of international aid makes it more difficult for the Palestinian terrorist thieves to fund their own Swiss accounts and also pay the salaries of their Mafia soldiers. Control of the border with Egypt is vital--it is over that border that the Palestinian gangs smuggle arms and money.
Just today, Israel (presumably with PLO support) stopped the Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, from entering Gaza from Egypt until he left behind $35,000,000 in "donations" he had collected from his tour of Muslim states. Here is a picture of the Hamas Godfather cooling his heels at the border crossing until he turned the loot over to Egyptian authorities:
As he sped away from the border, Haniyeh's vehicle convoy came under fire from Fatah gunmen, reportedly killing one of his body guards. It was that incident that probably led to the gun battle that followed.