jewin' the fat

Dying breath of Democracy
August 26, 2009, 9:24 AM
Filed under: Comment, Israel, media | Tags: , , , , , ,

(In mid August, 24 people died in a bloody gun battle between Hamas and the Jund Ansar Allah (“Soldiers of the Followers of God”) group in a Rafah mosque. The group’s leader, Abdul-Latif Moussa, reportedly killed himself using a suicide belt and more than 100 people were injured over the course of the battle. Hamas said that it launched the crackdown on the group after Moussa announced an “Islamic emirate” in Gaza, directly challenging the elected government’s rule. Hamas accused the US-backed Fatah and Arab states of being behind the militants, supporting them as part of an attempt to destabilise the Strip. Ismail Haniyeh was quoted as saying:

“These declarations [of an Islamic emirate] are aimed towards incitement against the Gaza Strip and an attempt at recruiting an international alliance against the Gaza Strip.

“And we warn those who are behind these Israeli Zionist declarations: the Gaza Strip only contains its people.”

Anthony Loewenstein jumped on the story, reporting for newmatilda on the sectarian violence, coming to the ‘logical’ conclusion that Muslim-on-Muslim fighting must be the fault of Israel, because why would Muslims fight each other, if not in defiant protest of the occupation of Palestine?

As Loewenstein says:

“The clash was hardly surprising. I heard during my time in Gaza that a growing number of Islamists were frustrated with attempts by Hamas to discuss engagement with the international community. For them, resistance means no compromise in the face of ongoing Israeli attacks. BBC journalist Shahdi Alkashif told me that he regularly spoke to Islamic extremists in Gaza and they were thriving under the siege … Such militants ask Gazans, why even bother trying to negotiate with Israel and Washington when resistance could achieve far more?”

“In order to present a coherent unified, and credible face as a negotiating partner, Hamas has imposed a tight grip on the Strip and doesn’t tolerate challenges to its authority from groups like these.” (My emphasis).

A few questions Loewey –

Does this “tight grip” include dictating what women can wear in schools or beaches or in the privacy of their own homes? Beating men in the streets?

Does this “tight grip” necessitate the murder and/or torture of political opponents, or tolerating men who murder their daughters for using mobile phones – the tenth such ‘honor killing’ in the Palestinian territories, according to human rights groups?

Does this “tight grip” pass the democratic test of the assurances of an individual’s rights to stand on a soap box in Gaza City and curse the names of the elected representatives?

Sure, blaming Israel for this lawlessness may “present a coherent, unified and credible face” for some, but not to the constituents, Hamas’ own people who have been killed, mutilated or humiliated by their elected representatives, all in the name of what you describe as “unity”. Sounds like totalitarianism to me. So much for the democratic process everyone keeps talking about.

Shame on you, Anthony, for belittling the very people you purport to represent.


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