Middle East

In 2007, the most striking developments in the Middle East occurred in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Lebanon. Particularly significant were the establishment of the short-lived Palestinian National Unity Government and the takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic socio-political organization and paramilitary force, in mid-June, following several months of armed clashes between Hamas and Fatah, a Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (plo). Factional violence reached a climax in the period from 11 to 17 June, claiming the lives of 188 Palestinians. From 16 June, Israel closed the borders of Gaza, with an exception made for imports of essential humanitarian supplies. On 17 June, the President of the Palestinian Authority (pa), Mahmoud Abbas, dissolved the National Unity Government. The latter half of the year saw political divisions and further armed clashes between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas consolidated its control in the Gaza Strip, establishing a security and administrative apparatus. In September, President Abbas issued a presidential decision barring political groups from participating in future elections unless they recognized all international agreements of the plo. The Israeli security cabinet declared Gaza a hostile entity and approved the disruption of utility and fuel supplies.

Related Subject(s): United Nations
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