Paul Harvey’s line is, “Self-government without self-control is self-defeating.” The latest exhibit before the jury is this.

THE al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, have threatened for the first time to kill Hamas leaders, including exiled political chief Khaled Meshaal.
The threat marked an escalation in the power struggle between Fatah and the ruling Hamas movement after two days of internal fighting in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank in which 12 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 wounded.

In a statement, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said it held Meshaal, Palestinian Interior Minister Saeed Seyam and senior Interior Ministry official Youssef al-Zahar responsible for the deaths.

“We in al-Aqsa announce, with all might and frankness, the ruling of the people in the homeland and in the diaspora, to execute the head of the sedition, Khaled Meshaal, Saeed Seyam and Youssef al-Zahar, and we will execute this ruling so those filthy people can be made an example,” the statement said.

Meshaal is based in Damascus, while Seyam and al-Zahar are in the Gaza Strip.

(Hat tip to the Jawa Report, who wishes both sides “the very best of luck in battle”.)

When political parties have their own milita–as does Hezbollah, Hamas and Fatah–those groups are not ready for government of the people, by the people and for the people. They are not ready to resolve their differences peacefully. They are not ready for a representative republic.

And yes, I’m aware of the bit of irony in using a phrase Lincoln used when dedicating a cemetery during the Civil War. Yes, we had our internal war, but I see a main difference. Most civil wars, as is the one in the Palestinian territories, are for control of the government. Ours was fought over the issue of separating from the government. And while that is a big, black mark on our history, we’ve gotten past the idea that political parties should stage military battles against each other. In fact, in a manner of speaking, if you grant that the South was acting as though it were a sovereign nation, even the Civil War might not be considered a war between factions within a country.

But in the Middle East, the Palestinian political parties are shooting at each other instead of wrangling this out in the political process. Politics may be ugly, but it’s better than this.

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