ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinians

Hamas, Netanyahu And The Middle East.

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What to make of the Middle East?

On the one hand, there is the natural desire of people to throw off their dictators.

Then on the other, bloody dictators clinging to power from Libya to Bahrain, using military might as they see fit, murdering willy-nilly. In part the West rightly condemns Gaddafi’s brutality, but then the EU commissioner defends state induced violence in Bahrain.

In Gaza, Islamic Jihad and Hamas deliberately launch mortars and rockets into Israel’s towns, hoping to kill civilians.

In response, the Netanyahu government plays Hamas’s game sending in planes and tanks.

In Jerusalem a bomb deliberately target civilians, ordinary Israelis, killing one and injuring many.

Back in Gaza, Hamas relish an opportunity to literally play the martyr and the stupid Netanyahu government obliges.

Hamas had been side tracked by events around the Middle East, their brutal rule of the Gaza Strip was made all the more obvious as they bludgeoned protesters for the human rights recently.

As a deflection they started poking Israel with a stick, knowing full well that the Netanyahu government would respond with military force and not a moment’s thought for the consequences, either politically or to ordinary Palestinians.

The Netanyahu government has shown itself incredibly inept and it is hard to point to any significant policy achievement that they have had in the last few years, if any. However, Hamas loves the Netanyahu government, for all their predictability, for all their political clumsiness and their diminishing political capital. If Hamas were left to their own devices they would continue to brutalise Palestinians without reproach, human rights within the Gaza Strip are negligible, speak out and you risk imprisonment, torture or worse. Hamas will brook no dissent.

Still, Hamas is full of canny political operatives, they know how to exploit a political situation and are comparatively good at PR, in stark contrast to the Netanyahu government that throws away chances and alienates allies, almost without a care in the world.

Meanwhile, the Bashar al-Assad dictatorship kills another 15+, those trying to demand basic human rights in Syria.

On top of that in Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh clings on to power and invokes emergency powers.

Egyptian women protesters forced to take ‘virginity tests’.

Israel’s Interior Ministry stupidly wants deport Munther Fahmi.

(H/T: Linda Grant)

Protests, Hamas And Torture

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Human Rights Watch has news of Hamas torturing Palestinians.

This is not new, but a recurring theme with the group that gained power in a coup d’etat of 2007, HRW says:

“Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that Hamas police and plainclothes security officials prevented a demonstration at the Unknown Soldier square in Gaza City on February 28, 2011, without giving any reason, and detained and tortured one of the organizers, Ahmad Arar. Arar, 31, gave Human Rights Watch a detailed accounted of the abuse he said he suffered, an attempt, he said, to make him confess to being a Palestinian Authority agent. Since late February, Hamas internal security officials have threatened, confiscated equipment from, and repeatedly questioned young activists trying to organize similar protests for March 15, the activists said.

“The Hamas government has shown time and again that it cares little about the rights of Palestinians who peacefully challenge its policies,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Hamas says it’s fighting for liberation from occupation but is repressing people living under its control.

Other witnesses to the February 28 events told Human Rights Watch said that Hamas security officials threatened to assault journalists who tried to cover the protest and that they had assaulted a journalist trying to cover a similar demonstration on February 11. ”

Within Gaza, Hamas place serious restrictions on books, newspapers and other media according to HRW:

“On January 23, 2011, Hamas police officers entered three bookstores in Gaza City and confiscated copies of two books, saying they were allegedly “against Shari’a” without providing any basis for their actions in written law or court order.

Dr. Talaat al-Safadi, the owner of the Ibn Khaldun bookstore near Al Azhar University in Gaza City, told Human Rights Watch that two police officers in street clothes and another in uniform came to his bookstore and confiscated seven copies of A Banquet for Seaweed, a novel by Haidar Haidar, and one copy of Chicago, a novel by Alaa’ al-Aswany.

“The police didn’t tell me why they were taking the books and I didn’t ask them, but I insisted that they prove they had the right to take them, and eventually they showed me a note from the Ministry of Interior,” al-Safadi said. The police refused to give him a receipt for the books, he said, telling him to go to the al-Abbas police station, which he refused to do.

“A Banquet for Seaweed was written and translated into many languages 20 years ago, and people these days can download novels anyway,” al-Safadi said. “There’s no point in confiscating them.”

Also on January 23, members of the General Investigation Bureau confiscated copies of Chicago and A Banquet for Seaweed from the al-Shurouq bookstore in Gaza City, and Internal Security Service officers ordered employees at the Samir Mansour bookstore, near Gaza City’s Islamic University, not to sell any copies of the novels, said the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a nongovernmental rights group based in Gaza. “

It is just a matter of time before Hamas start burning books.

(H/T: Adam Holland)

Update 1: Meanwhile in Bahrain, HRW reports:

“We were at the anti-government demonstration in Rifaa, south of Manama, where King Hamad’s palace is located. It turned violent. Several pro-government protesters or Rifaa residents broke through the police line and began chanting and hurling rocks toward the anti-government demonstrators. Some in the latter group reacted and did the same. After a minute or two of these exchanges the police began shooting tear gas in the direction of the protesters and hundreds began running away. I saw lots of teargas, and dozens of people fell on the ground due to inhalation, being struck by canisters, or simply falling over. The firing of tear gas canisters stopped after about a minute, and some protesters went back to the front line again. But after half an hour or so the crowd began to disperse. Ambulances on the scene took some of the injured to the hospital.”

The Disgusting Treatment Of A Palestinian Family.

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Thanks to Lisa Goldman for highlighting the disgusting treatment of a Palestinian family in East Jerusalem, Haaretz reports:

“Right-wing Israelis are expected to move into a room in an East Jerusalem Palestinian family’s home on Monday, after a court sided with their claim.

The Hamdallah family and American millionaire and settler patron Irving Moskowitz have been fighting an 11-year court battle over the home. Now, authorities are expected to force the Hamdallahs to evacuate a room and their yard to make way for Israelis, who are likely to encumber their neighbors’ day-to-day routine.

The yard leads to the home’s entrance.

The Hamdallah home abuts Ma’aleh Zeitim, an enclave of 100 Jewish families encircled by a wall deep in the East Jerusalem neighborhood Ras al-Amud. Nearby, a construction project that includes 14 housing units for Jewish families in what was once the West Bank police headquarters is nearly done.

The home and Ma’aleh Zeitim are on land that was purchased by Moskowitz in 1990. The American acquired the property from Chabad and the Volhynia Hassidic dynasty, who proved they owned the land before 1948.

The Palestinian family has lived in the area since 1952. Through his representatives and emissaries in Israel, Moskowitz has waged a multi-year legal battle to evict the family.

Sixteen Palestinians live in the disputed home. A couple and a child live in the bedroom that the court ordered vacated.

“Three people live in this room,” said Khaled Hamdallah, a family member. “We don’t know what to do. I don’t even care anymore. I feel like dying. They want to throw us out completely. The police is with them, the judges are with them. So what’s the point?”

“The settlers used a trick,” said Lecker. “Geva submitted an affidavit [to the bailiff] that does not match the court’s ruling. They will evacuate the room and bring in a family and two armed guard. I think [the settlers] want to make their lives hell until they finally are forced to leave.” “

Written by modernityblog

10/03/2011 at 14:35

Hamas And Friends Up the Ante.

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Jim over at the Daily (Maybe) points us to the recent Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, presumably with the implication that the bloodthirsty Israelis like nothing more than blindly firing missiles into Gaza.

From the news coverage, that would clearly not be the case.

Apparently numerous rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel, hoping to cause civilian casualties, as the JP reported last week:

”Since Thursday, 10 mortar shells and at least five rockets, including a Katyusha, have been fired into Israel, the most in such a short span since Operation Cast Lead ended last year.

On Saturday, three rockets hit open fields in the Sha’ar Hanegev region. No injuries or damage were reported. On Thursday night, for the first time since Cast Lead, a Katyusha rocket landed in an open field south of Ashkelon.

In response to the attack on Ashkelon, the IAF bombed a number of targets throughout the Gaza Strip, Palestinians said that three men were killed in a smuggling tunnel that was bombed along the Gaza-Egypt border.

The Kassam attacks on Saturday followed a Hamas announcement on Friday that it had managed to smuggle new types of weapons into Gaza despite the blockade.”

There you have it.

Rather than boast of how Hamas have helped Palestinians they would sooner boast about weapons. “Guns before people” should be the Hamas motto.

It is fairly clear that Hamas and its allies (along with others) would prefer the status quo, a sort of quasi conflict with Israel rather than any settlement, which would mean they would have to rule Gaza with a degree of legitimacy, competency and without military coercion.

Anyway, like Jim, I hope it doesn’t escalate for the sake of the Palestinians and Israelis, nothing is achieved by lobbing rockets into Israel, but I think the men with guns in Gaza know that.

Written by modernityblog

11/01/2010 at 03:56

Galloway, Hamas And Political Theatre.

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I take an interest in the Middle East and have been following the activities of George Galloway and the convoy for Gaza. In fact, it might be several convoys as a lot of different countries have contributed.

I think the convoy idea is excellent.

I think the fact that Palestinians might get their hands on some well needed goods is an admirable goal.

After all the Palestinians in Gaza deserve our sympathies for living under Hamas rule.

Imagine that you are a Palestinian, you might even have voted for Hamas in 2006 and now you are stuck with them, permanently, with no possibility of voting them out.

You would know, as a Palestinian, that any opposition to Hamas in Gaza is largely futile as Hamas has the monopoly on the weapons of the State and is not afraid to use them. You would naturally remember that Hamas dealt violently with Fatah supporters, murdering many and throwing a few off of buildings, handcuffed. So if you were in Gaza you’d be stuck with Hamas, and if you were a teacher then you’ve probably have been attacked and scabbed on by Hamas.

Palestinians have to put up with a lot as Hamas and others senselessly provoke the Israelis, or as they place rockets in civilian areas, to incite a violent response and deliberately increase civilian casualties.

Hamas do that and much more, and our sympathies should go out to the ordinary Palestinians caught up between wanting to live an ordinary decent life and the violence which emanates from Hamas’s activities.

But what do Hamas long for? The publicity supplied by Galloway and the convoy? Or something else?

Hamas’s priority is not the welfare of the Palestinians, and in all probability the goods from the convoy will go firstly to their own supporters and be used to bolster Hamas’s position within Gaza.

Hamas is more of a “guns before butter” entity as their recent smuggling exercises show, the JP reports:

”Hamas on Friday boasted that it had managed to smuggle new types of weapons into the Gaza Strip despite the blockade, and published photographs of some of the arms it allegedly obtained.

Izz al-Din al- Kassam Brigades published photographs of newly acquired weapons including missiles with a double warhead, 107-mm caliber missiles designed to penetrate fortified structures, and a new type of armor-piercing RPG missile.

Hamas spokesman Abu Ubeida warned that the group has “thousands of fighters and good weapons capable of harming Israel.” “

Written by modernityblog

09/01/2010 at 01:49

Real Trade Unionism.

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The petulance and sloganeering that passes itself off in Britain as trade unionism, which is epitomised by UCU, achieves very little, but makes Westerners feel self-satisfied and content in their own small ways. Yet in the long run the anti-Israeli activities in UCU and other organizations actually weakens trade unions, it does not strengthen them.

With that in mind I was all the more gratified to find this video clip of genuine solidarity between Israeli and Palestinian trade unionists:

Written by modernityblog

08/07/2009 at 08:51