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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gaza - the new Riviera?

The Hamas tourism industry has its job cut out for it:
If you think of the Gaza Strip as a volatile, violent battleground run by fanatic Islamist militants bent on destroying Israel, Hamas wants you to think again.

Think: "Safe, clean and green."

One month after seizing the Gaza Strip in a military rout that shattered brittle Palestinian unity, Hamas is embarking on a radical marketing campaign to promote what it calls "the new face of Gaza."

They call it the "Gaza Riviera."

Lime-green Hamas banners flutter over Gaza City with a message in English for aid workers and journalists worried about being kidnapped: "No more threat for our foreign visitors and guests."

I wonder what Gilad Shalit has to say about that.

Bearded gunmen in blue-gray camouflage uniforms who helped seize control of Gaza now rush to settle routine neighborhood squabbles and family disputes.

Once-deserted Mediterranean beaches now are filled with dozens of families holding picnics to escape the summer heat until long after midnight.

Monday, Hamas is planning to take journalists on a special tour, from the packed beaches to the bullet-scarred security compounds its Islamist fighters overran last month when they ousted Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"This is our new Riviera," boasted Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar. "This is the most secure period in the history of Gaza."

Let's just ignore the time periods from 1967-1989 and 1993-2000, shall we?


Using a mix of military force and political persuasion, Hamas has succeeded in creating a sense of safety in the Gaza Strip. But many Palestinians don't believe this quiet will last long.

Sitting on a southern Gaza Strip beach, Ahmed Yousef, the Hamas leader behind the "safe, clean and green" slogan, said his group has no plans to impose strict Islamic rule on the 1.5 million residents.

"If we succeed here, the people in the West Bank will keep looking to this model," Yousef said. "We don't want to promote the way of the Taliban."

Another article about the new beach culture in Gaza adds a telling detail:

Still, there is enough business for at least one boutique hotel, designed to resemble a Moroccan villa. The Al Deira hotel offers spectacular sunset views and wireless Internet service on the grand terrace, but no meaningful mini-bar in the rooms, because alcohol is banned.
I guess Hamas' definition of "strict Islamic rule" is a little different from most Westerners'.

But I wish them luck. I can't wait to see thousands of Hamas sympathizers from the ISM, UK professors and MPs and other "progressive" groups change their vacation plans to go to the new Riviera in Gaza. Seeing them frolicking in the waves, covered in their burqas, will do wonders for the Hamas tourism industry. After all, we know that they are ideologically aligned with Hamas' misogynistic, repressive, pro-gun, anti-gay and anti-alcohol agenda, and that their support for Hamas has nothing to do with anti-semitism.

(H/T: Zionist Spy)