Islamist group Hamas has banned public New Year's Eve parties in the Gaza Strip because they offend the territory's "values and religious traditions", police said on Wednesday.They have two others reasons as well:
"The interior ministry and police department did not give permits to any restaurants, hotels or halls for end-of-year parties" after several venues requested permission, police spokesman Ayman al-Batinji told AFP.
He said New Year's Eve celebrations were "incompatible with our customs, traditions, values and the teachings of our religion".
Parties had also been curtailed in "solidarity with the families of the martyrs of the Jerusalem intifada," Batinji said, referring to violence that has swept the city and parts of the West Bank in recent months.
He also highlighted the "pains and sacrifices" that come with living in Gaza due to Israel's "imposed siege" on the Strip.
RT notes that Hamas has allowed New Year's Eve parties in the past, so this is not a religiously motivated ban.
And reasoning is shared by the PA:
In Bethlehem, Christmas celebrations were toned-down significantly out of respect for the more than 120 Palestinian families who have lost loved ones since the start this year's upheaval in October.Hamas has as little theological problem with New Year's Eve celebrations as the PA has with Christmas parties. The real reason for the bans is that Hamas and Fatah want to ensure that they maintain a perpetual victimhood status, and happy people belie that idea.
Since the start of October, municipalities across the occupied West Bank have also asked bars and restaurants to refrain from having large parties or celebrations out of respect for the seriousness of the current political situation.
Most observers do not fully grasp the implications of an honor/shame society. The fundamental difference between honor/shame culture and Western-style guilt culture is that, in shame cultures, appearances are far more important than reality. There is a carefully crafted narrative of Palestinian Arabs as the ultimate victims, and this is the narrative that they teach their children from birth. Any other issues must not be discussed outside their own circles because it is shameful to admit any shortcomings but not shameful to blame Israel.
This is why we have seen so many "eyewitnesses" to events reflexively make up stories to blame Israel - because not to do so is to admit there are other internal problems in their society, and they will rarely say that to reporters or Western NGOs. Instead, the party line must be adhered to, and the only people who say the truth ask to remain anonymous.
Their leadership is particularly attuned to this dynamic. One photo or video of happy partygoers in the territories, they believe, can undo months of carefully plotted anti-Israel propaganda, of "solidarity with the families of the martyrs" and "pains and sacrifices" that is the one message that they hammer away at to any outsiders. To show otherwise is to admit that they have some responsibility for their own lives, and they don't want that responsibility - since their entire identity is based on being perpetual victims of an event nearly seven decades ago that they started.
In an honor/shame culture, the message given to the outside world must be carefully calibrated and plotted. People who act against that message are ostracized, so they become willing (or unwilling) characters in an ongoing piece of fiction, a dramatic play where the entire world is the audience and one bad actor can ruin the performance. No one will publicly protest the Palestinian Grinch that stole the holidays, because the playwrights have guns to enforce only one possible ending to the drama - the destruction of another state.