GayandRight

My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (www.freethinkingfilms.com)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Two years of Hamas rule in Gaza....

Where are all the celebrations???
No victory parade, no jubilation and no great words: The radical Islamist Hamas movement ruling Gaza this week marked the second anniversary of its take-over of the coastal salient, quietly and without much fuss.

Despite the growing anger, despair and hopelessness of many Palestinians from Rafah in the south to Beit Hanoun in the north, the Islamists, who rule with heavy hand, appear more firmly in the saddle than ever.

It was mid-June two years ago when Hamas fighters violently overpowered the secular Fatah movement of Mahmoud Abbas, by storming their security headquarters throughout the strip.

'Not everything deserves to be celebrated,' says Ahmed Yousef, the de-facto deputy foreign minister of the internationally unrecognized Hamas government in Gaza.

'It was a surgical operation, otherwise the system would have collapsed. We defended moral authority. We are not proud of having killed each other,' is how Yousef describes the bloody clashes that left hundreds dead.

The grey-bearded politician represents Hamas' more moderate voice towards the West. But Hamas - depending on one's perspective - is like a mask with 100 different faces.

The nationalist-religious movement has more than half a million members and supporters, who include not only its radical politicians and 20,000 armed fighters, but also intellectuals, devoutly religious citizens - and people who ride the Hamas coattails, going along with it for personal benefit, whether profit or power.

Gaza in June 2009 looks like a police state. Armed Hamas men keep each residential block under their scrutiny. A photographer has hardly clicked the shutter to take a photograph of the Gaza City security headquarters destroyed by Israel, when a vehicle pulls up on the side of the road.

A Hamas brigadier demands he delete the photograph. 'What an idiot. He's probably illiterate,' comments the taxi-driver. 'Anyway, his rank is only based on the number of Fatah fighters he has killed.'

In a utility store two old friends argue about politics. Store owner Bassam Batrassawi openly portrays himself as a Hamas friend. 'They gave us back security and religion. And they backed up the talk against Israel with force,' says the 37-year-old.

'They (Hamas) have destroyed everything,' on the other hand mutters Adah Shawa. The butchery owner is a millionaire, but everything is relative in the face of Israel's stringent blockade of the strip. Gaza with its 1,5 million inhabitants is often described as the 'world's biggest open-air prison.' 'What use is money, when you can't leave this place. I want to go to France, to Germany,' sighs the 33-year-old.

Seja'eyah, a western Gaza City suburb, is only a stone's throw from the Israeli border. Part of the land belongs to the al-Dabba clan, which cultivated 350 olive trees here, some of them more than 300 years old. The Israeli military destroyed them all. 'Hamas fighters fired rockets at Israel from them,' explains a family member.

'When we told them to stop this nonsense, they pointed their guns at us and asked if we were traitors of the resistance.'

Complaints about unscrupulous behaviour by Hamas people can fill pages. A young man reports how Hamas first beat him up and then shot apart all four tyres of his car, because he was listening to a Fatah song.

A common intimidation method used by Hamas is knee-capping, where victims are shot from close range in the knees, crippling them. Unapproved demonstrations are sometimes dispersed with live ammunition. In the neat Gaza City headquarters of President Abbas, dozens of Fatah supporters are allegedly still being held.

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