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Totalitarian Rule in Gaza

With its recent coup in Gaza, Hamas has lost all rights to participate in any government for the Palestinians. Any state backing Hamas has also lost all political rights.

To get a sense of the level of barbarism that Hamas represents, consider this report by Avi Issacharoff at Ha’aretz describing the military takeover, which began June 11:

Testimony collected from the days of fighting indicates that Hamas imposed a methodical system of terror and scare tactics intended to deter, shock and frighten Fatah operatives and Gaza residents in general.

It began on a Monday 11 days ago, when a Fatah man was tossed off a multi-story building in the Strip; it subsequently came to light that Hamas operatives managed to shoot him in the legs before throwing him to his death.

Although this method was used on only one other Fatah operative, it had the desired effect and became the talk of the town. A number of Fatah leaders, who knew that their names appeared on Hamas hit lists, decided to take their exit, with some heading to Ramallah and others crossing into Egypt.

Mr. Issacharoff continued:

Hamas was not using a random hit list. Every Hamas patrol carried with it a laptop containing a list of Fatah operatives in Gaza, and an identity number and a star appeared next to each name.

A red star meant the operative was to be executed and a blue one meant he was to be shot in the legs — a special, cruel tactic developed by Hamas, in which the shot is fired from the back of the knee so that the kneecap is shattered when the bullet exits the other side.

A black star signaled arrest, and no star meant that the Fatah member was to be beaten and released. Hamas patrols took the list with them to hospitals, where they searched for wounded Fatah officials, some of whom they beat up and some of whom they abducted.

Aside from assassinating Fatah officials, Hamas also killed innocent Palestinians, with the intention of deterring the large clans from confronting the organization. Thus it was that 10 days ago, after an hours-long gun battle that ended with Hamas overpowering the Bakr clan from the Shati refugee camp — known as a large, well-armed and dangerous family that supports Fatah — the Hamas military wing removed all the family members from their compound and lined them up against a wall. Militants selected a 14-year-old girl, two women aged 19 and 75, and two elderly men, and shot them to death in cold blood to send a message to all the armed clans of Gaza.”

The Hamas militants have no real interest in participating in a government for the Palestinians. The group boycotted the first elections, and they refuse to acknowledge Israel. Their only goal is the destruction of Israel.

And, now that millions of Palestinians face starvation and medical crises in the isolated region, Hamas members are counting on the benevolence of the very nation they seek to destroy.

In the same article, Mr. Issacharoff reported:

Like Gaza’s residents, Hamas, too, is worried by the possibility that Israel will close the border crossings. But when Israeli and international human rights groups started worrying this week over the possibility that food supplies in Gaza could run out within a month, Hamas realized that the Israeli government would not be able to sit back and allow for the starvation of more than 1.3 million Palestinians.

Surprisingly, Hamas also agreed to let private Palestinian groups maintain all the existing arrangements at the crossings; the groups will operate in accordance with security rules set by Israel.

But all this doesn’t mean that Hamas has given up fighting Israel.

‘Hamas will act against Israel, inevitably,’ predicts Salah Bardawil, one of the movement’s leaders in Gaza. ‘If you continue to oppress us economically or security-wise, it will only result in a reaction on our part, and no one will benefit from that. Our goal is to stabilize the internal situation in the Strip and to resolve the residents’ troubles. We also do not oppose Israel’s decision to allow the passage of [some Gaza] residents to the West Bank. We won’t hold anyone here by force.’

The militants and the states that support them are currently emboldened by the West’s disjunctive foreign policy, as this coup shows. But, the free world is capable of losing its patience.

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