There’s a story in the Independent about how the people of Gaza are divided over who is responsible for their misery. This is not especially surprising, so that’s not really what I want to discuss.
What I did find interesting is that more and more stories are trickling out about how Hamas – the “democratically elected government” (as George Galloway, Tony Benn, the SWP and the StWC (sic) never waste an opportunity to remind us) – brutalises its own people. If any other government engaged in this sort of internal repression, they’d be condemned. We don’t have “We are all Zanu-PF” rallies, and for good reason (lest it needs to be said! These days it probably does.).
Here’s a story:
A Fatah activist, Eyad Obeid, says he was in a shop near his home last week when a 4×4 vehicle pulled up. Four masked men carrying AK-47s seized him, took him away and subjected him to an ordeal which ended with him being shot in his left leg below the knee. Fatah says there were dozens of similar incidents during and after the war. And this is beside the killings – admitted by Hamas – of those suspected of informing Israel of Hamas targets.
Mr Obeid, who was not accused of informing, says he was repeatedly questioned about his Fatah connections and his previous job in Ramallah-run Preventative Security before being pulled out of the car and shot.
And if the Israeli bombing all around them was not enough to worry about, the most horrifying moment of the war for the Najar family started at around 7.30pm on 4 January, when 10 masked, armed Palestinians in black tunics descended on the alley where the menfolk were gathered outside their house in northern Gaza City round a pot of tea over a wood fire, necessitated by the lack of electricity or cooking gas.
The men all obeyed the gunmen’s orders to lie on the ground except Hisham, 51, who asked the men what they wanted. Women and children came out from the house to see what was happening. One of the men slapped Hisham, others rose to intervene, and the gunmen opened fire. Hisham was killed, and 11 others were wounded, including his 70-year-old mother and her 12-year-old granddaughter. “For me a rocket from the Israelis would be better than this,” said Mohammed Najar, 41, the dead man’s brother. “The children are still terrified at what happened. They wet themselves at night.”
Add these stories to the others, and a pattern emerges.
The other thing that struck me was this line:
“The stricken Moeen Deeb, 40, who rushed home on the day of the nearby shelling of the UN school in Jabalya …”
The UN themselves have set the record straight that their school was not shelled. But journalists continue to report this lie. It’s a much better story than the truth, so I’ll wager this fiction will have quite a long shelf-life, even in the ‘quality’ press.
As for the central issue of this post, no doubt the usual apologists will be flapping about making excuses, but I wonder how many of them would honestly put their hands up if they were asked if they would like to be governed by Hamas.
If, like one of the men in The Independent’s article, I had a carpentry business with $100,000 worth of equipment, I certainly wouldn’t love my government for taking pot-shots at a stronger neighbour, trying to pick a fight.