US imprisoned by Israel

US feels the heat on Palestine vote at UN 

Jonathan Cook says while Europe is becoming increasingly disenchanted with Israel, as shown by the growing recognitions of Palestine, US policy towards Israel is paralysed by fear of upsetting the Zionist lobby. More »

Ziad Abu Ein

Whitewashing a Palestinian minister’s murder

Jamal Kanj examines the murder by Israeli Wehrmacht soldiers of Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein and the subsequent propaganda blitz by Israel and its Western stooges and nincompoops to whitewash the murder. More »

Alon Ben-Meir

Israel’s Jews trapped in their own narrative

Alan Hart explains why Israeli Jews must acknowledge that a terrible wrong was done to the Palestinians by Zionism in the name of all Jews and that this wrong must be righted. More »

Media determinism

Free choice vs media determinism

Lawrence Davidson questions the extent of free will, whether in commercial or political choices, in the face of media manipulation amounting to determinism and exercised through advertisements and selective news and emphasis. More »

Sanctions Russia Israel

Palestine and Europe’s symbolic gestures

Alan Hart says Europe needs to go beyond gestures towards Palestine and submit a Security Council resolution with an ultimatum for Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories or face international sanctions. More »

Ethnic cleansing

Israel’s ethnic cleansing manifesto

Jamal Kanj argues that Israeli politicians such as the present foreign minister, the Moldovan former nightclub bouncer Avigdor Lieberman, are seeking to complete the ethnic cleansing begun by Israel’s founders in 1948. More »

Israeli elections 2015

Israel’s upcoming election choices

Uri Avnery advocates a centrist-leftist election bloc to contest Israel’s upcoming polls, which he argues will decide between a racist, warmongering state or a democratic state at peace with the Palestinians. More »

Silencing dissent

Zionist lobby attack on academic freedom in USA

Lawrence Davidson examines how Zionists are undermining academic freedom in the USA by seeking to destroy the careers of critics of Israel, and argues that this underlines the importance of continued dissent. More »

Christian friends of Israel

The UK’s Israeli flag-waving Christian preachers

Stuart Littlewood highlights the case of Christian priests who act as Israel’s propagandists, ignoring Israel’s crimes against humanity and its persecution of their Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land. More »

Guernica

The nightmare we called the “Arab Spring”

Nureddin Sabir says the “Arab Spring” had been misunderstood from the start and, at least in Syria and Libya, what were said to be pro-democracy revolutions were in fact Islamist insurrections. More »

Daily Archives: April 8, 2013

Hamas puts backward ideology ahead of liberation

One would have thought that the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas has more on its mind than hair gel, haircuts and hipsters, what with the medieval Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, poverty and destitution of Gaza’s people and the failure of attempts at Palestinian national reconciliation.

Apparently not.

Recently, we took Hamas to task for enacting a gender apartheid law in Gaza’s schools that barred men from teaching at girls’ schools and mandated separate classes for boys and girls from the age of nine.

We also drew attention to Hamas’s decision to ban women from running in a UN marathon, prompting the organizer, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, to cancel it.

Now we learn that Hamas’s police officers have started snatching young men with long or gel-styled spiky hair off the streets, bundling them into jeeps, mocking them, beating them up and shaving their heads. Other young men wearing tight or low-waist trousers have also received similar treatment.

The man on the left is wearing a  hairstyle deemed "obscene" by Hamas, and on the right is a man with his head shaved by Hamas police as punishment for wearing the "wrong" hairstyle

The man on the left is wearing a hairstyle deemed obscene by Hamas, and on the right is a man with his head shaved by Hamas police as punishment for wearing the wrong hairstyle

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights cites one victim of Hamas’s Islamist police:

I finished my work at approximately 1630 on Thursday 4 April 2013 and took a taxi to Al-Shuja’iya taxi stand, east of Gaza City. While waiting for another taxi to take me home, I was surprised that a policeman called me and ordered me to get into a police jeep. There were about 12 other young men inside the jeep and no one knew the reason of [their] detention. We were transported to Al-Shuja’iya police station. Meanwhile, one detainee was beaten by a policeman. At the police station, they ordered us to stand in a queue and they were making fun of our hairstyles using abusive words. When a detainee protested, he was beaten. The policemen started cutting a young man’s hair and I was the next one to have his hair cut.  All young men had their hair cut. I then signed a statement saying I would not grow long hair or have strange hairstyle or wear low-waist trousers. I left the police station at approximately 1830 on the same day.

According to Al-Arabiya news website, Hamas officials played down the campaign. It quoted Ziad al-Zaza, the deputy prime minister of Gaza, as saying that head-shaving “was a very limited, isolated behaviour of the police and is not going to continue”.

These men's trousers are considered "obscene" by Hamas police – and worthy of punishment

These men’s trousers are considered obscene by Hamas police – and worthy of punishment

However, Hamas’s denial is both cowardly and unconvincing. As Al-Arabiya says, it is “a stance adopted in the past that allows the group to distance itself from a controversial crackdown while at the same time instilling fear in those it targeted”.

But there may be more bad news for Gaza’s youths, whose space for self-expression is shrinking by the day. This is because Hamas appears to be competing with super-primitive Salafi bigots, who have criticized Hamas for not implementing seventh-century Islamic law in Gaza quickly enough.

All this – gender apartheid, harassment for wearing the wrong hairstyle or the wrong trousers, enforcement of “Islamic” attire for women – comes as a godsend to Israel. It distracts world public opinion from the Zionist entity’s own obnoxious apartheid policies and illegal occupation of Arab territory, and it paints the Palestinian people in the worst possible colour.

We know that for many years Israel tolerated and at times encouraged Islamic activists and groups, including Hamas, as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Now, unwittingly, Hamas is paying back the favour by destroying Palestinian society from within.