Saturday, August 18, 2007

"Gaza looks like Somalia"

Jonathan Schanzer, writing in The National Review, outlines the delightful transformation of Gaza by Hamas:

The Hamas terror organization that gained power through a violent coup in the Gaza Strip in June is now signaling that it will maintain its rule through a combination of violence, authoritarianism, and Islamism:

Forced Conversions. According to Fatah officials, ...a [Christian] teacher at Palestine University... was kidnapped two weeks ago by Hamas and forced to convert to Islam against her will... Other Christians now fear for their lives, and are making plans to flee.

Muzzling the Media. ...Hamas’s Executive Force (EF) prevented the distribution of three Fatah newspapers... [and] even took some of the newspapers’ circulation officials into custody... According to... Al-Jazeera, Hamas attacked two cameramen from the Abu Dhabi satellite television channel, and stormed the Gaza bureau of Al-Arabiya satellite channel... The EF has closed a pro-Fatah television station and radio station. In fact, Hamas now controls all electronic media in Gaza...

Beating Demonstrators. reports that the Hamas EF beat Fatah demonstrators on Monday when protestors chanted, “What is happening in Gaza is not acceptable,” and “What has happened to security and human rights?” ...Hamas has now banned unlicensed demonstrations...

Disintegration of Law. The armed wing of Hamas... reportedly seized legal documents from a lawyer that documented the confiscation of a car by Hamas. The militiamen took the lawyer’s affidavit at gunpoint... Similarly, when the EF recently stormed the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions headquarters... and “nationalized” it, the Federation could do nothing. Rule of law continues to deteriorate.

Killing Political Rivals. Hamas has attacked its rivals with utter brutality... some 160 Palestinians were killed, including 45 civilians, and 800 were wounded. Fatah accounted for most of the casualties in grisly violence that included summary executions, kneecapping, and throwing handcuffed prisoners from tall buildings...

Islamizing the Police. ...Hamas... has been beating demonstrators and banning free press held a teach-in two weeks ago on being a Muslim policeman... [the] notion of religious police smacks of the Taliban’s Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which punished Afghanis for straying from sharia law.

Al Qaeda Links? In 2006, Hamas Interior Minister Said Sayyam stated that he would not order the arrests of operatives who carried out attacks against Israel. This was tantamount to an invitation for al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups to join Hamas... ...[Palestinian officials claim] that al-Qaeda maintains a presence in the West Bank and Gaza.

...under Hamas, as one New York Times reporter notes, “Gaza looks like Somalia: broken and ravenous.” ...This is the beginning of the Talibanization of Gaza, and the end of hope for the rule of law.

One almost pities the Palestinian citizenry. The lesson learned is a simple one: if you vote an autocratic group of Islamist thugs into office, don't expect your right to free elections to last any longer than a breath mint.

All that's missing from Gaza is a barren soccer field used for 'disciplinary justice'.

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