Israel allows arms to reach Fatah

Israel allowed a shipment of arms yesterday to reach troops in Gaza loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian National Authority, threatening to stir fresh fighting between Fatah and Hamas. It consisted of 2,000 automatic rifles and two million rounds of ammunition with 20,000 magazines.

Paid for by Egypt, Israel’s permission was needed as the shipment had to pass through an Israeli cargo terminal that controls goods from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. Israel normally stops all arms reaching the occupied territories in case they are used against Israeli targets.

But this was put to one side, outdone by Israel’s desire to see Fatah, the relatively moderate Palestinian party, defeat Hamas, the hardline, anti-Israeli, Islamist movement.