Gaza Was Going to Show the World

Patrick Bishop writes:

I have always been reluctant to accept the Israeli statesman Abba Eban’s observation that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, but arriving in Gaza Monday, it had to be admitted that the man had a point. Four months ago, when I was last here, the place sparkled with optimism. With the Israelis gone, Gaza was going to show the world what Palestinians could do when left to their own devices.

Now it felt more like the Wild West. Our regular driver, Ashraf, was not there to meet us. He has the bad luck to belong to the Masri clan, who are currently engaged in a blood feud with their rivals, the Kafarnehs. The toll so far is five dead and 70-odd wounded. As we passed through the town of Khan Yunis, the main road was blocked by what I took at first to be an election rally. Wrong. The Masri boys were at it again, this time wading into the Tahas, their sworn enemies in the southern end of the strip. As we turned into a parallel street to detour round the mob, we ran into a gun battle, with the rivals trading Kalashnikov fire from opposing blocks of flats.