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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Toameh: what about Hamas' Siege of Gaza?

Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh asks What about Hamas' Siege of Gaza?
As Israeli naval commandos raided the flotilla ship convoy that was on its way to the Gaza Strip, Hamas security officers stormed the offices of five non-governmental organizations, confiscated equipment and documents, and ordered them closed indefinitely.
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The raid on the NGOs in the Gaza Strip, which received little coverage in the media, is seen by many Palestinians as part of Hamas's ongoing crackdown on political opponents and human rights organizations.

Further, Hamas's recent decision to ban municipal elections in the Gaza Strip is yet another violation of one of the basic rights of its constituents.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested by Hamas's security forces for daring to speak out against the state of tyranny and intimidation in the Gaza Strip. Over the past three years, dozens of Fatah officials and members have either been thrown into prison or killed.

Under Hamas, the Gaza Strip is being transformed into a fundamentalist Islamic entity resembling the regimes of the Ayatollahs in Iran and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

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Instead of searching for ways to improve the living conditions of the 1.5 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, Hamas is busy enforcing strict Islamic rules on the population, such as Hamas policemen, for example, often stopping men and women who are seen together in public to inquire about the nature of their relationship.

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Hamas, however, is more interested in clinging to power than in serving its people; and in light of increased calls for lifting the blockade following the flotilla incident at sea, the movement's leaders in Syria and the Gaza Strip are now convinced that they are marching in the right direction.


It is one thing to help the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, but it is another thing to help Hamas. Those who wish to deliver aid to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip can always find better and safer ways to do so - either through Israel or Egypt. But those who only seek confrontation with Israel in the sea are only emboldening Hamas and helping it tighten its grip on the people of Gaza Strip.