Folk strømmet til grenseposten Erez lørdag. De kunne fortelle hvordan det var da Hamas tok makten. Sårede ble skutt og ambulanser stoppet.
Abu Nada and dozens of exhausted Fatah supporters crammed the lobby of the Grand Park Hotel in Ramallah, nervously smoking cigarettes and chatting on cell phones with relatives in Gaza. Officials said at least 50 Fatah leaders and top commanders from Gaza were in Ramallah.
Everyone seemed to have a terrifying tale. «God knows how I escaped death,» said a former doctor for the Fatah-allied Presidential Guard whose car came under fire when he fled the hospital where he worked. He would give only his first name, Medhat, saying he feared for his safety.
Abu Nada and Medhat said they still held some hope of returning to Gaza one day. But many others said they would never go back.
«I don’t want to live under Hamas and I don’t trust anyone now,» said Ahmed Sawan, a 27-year-old officer from the Preventive Security service.
«When you see your friends being killed in front of your eyes, when you see Hamas fighters killing the wounded, stopping ambulances, storming houses and security officers, this leads you to one thing: to get away,» he said.
Sawan said his wife and mother remained in Gaza, and he had no idea when he might see them again. «What can I do,» he asked, then said he might settle in Ramallah or try to emigrate from the Palestinian areas altogether.
Except for several top Fatah commanders, Hamas has offered amnesty to their vanquished Fatah foes. But the pledges have done little to ease the fears of Fatah supporters.
Hundreds of Gazans flocked to the Erez crossing to Israel in hopes of fleeing the coastal strip Saturday, but most were turned back.
Shlomo Dror, an Israeli army spokesman, said the crossing was closed because of the sudden rush, and only a small number of humanitarian cases were being allowed to pass through.
«Suddenly we had 100 people come to the checkpoint to cross,» Dror said. «So the crossing was shut, fearing a terrorist would arrive at the Israeli side.»
Inside the crossing’s terminal Saturday afternoon, around 120 former Fatah security officials, some with their families, crammed the concrete corridor leading from Gaza to Israel.
One woman arrived with a newborn baby, saying her husband was taken by Hamas. A man was wheeled in on a luggage trolley, his leg bandaged up to the thigh — the result of what he said was a gunshot wound.
One young man allowed to cross the border shouted «Bye, bye, Gaza,» and waved as he walked through the covered walkway that leads to the Israeli side.