Prosecute Israel for Gaza war crimes

Israel faces its own evil

Gilad Atzmon argues that on the eve of the collapse of the Gaza ceasefire, Netanyahu faced a dilemma: to lift the Gaza blockade or to end up at the International Criminal Court. More »

Liberal Zionist dilemma

The liberal Zionist dilemma

Lawrence Davidson highlights the contradiction between universal civil and political rights and support for Zionist state. He says that, faced with the choice, most “liberal” Zionists would ditch the veil of liberalism. More »

David Cameron and the Israeli flag

Freedom to live ordinary lives…

Stuart Littlewood argues that while Israel continues to ride roughshod over international law and the will of the international community, Britain’s Conservative-led government continues to regurgitate the same tired old messages. More »

Zionism corrupting US democracy

Open letter to President Obama: Your legacy

Alan Hart spells out, in an open letter to US President Barack Obama, what it would take for Obama not to go down in history as a Zionist stooge and a joke. More »

Broken promises and broken dreams

Gaza: raw power and the murdering of justice

As the Gaza conflict rages, Stuart Littlewood asks whatever happened to the US-Quartet Agreement, signed by Israel, “to give the Palestinian people freedom to move, to trade, to live ordinary lives”? More »

Israeli losers

The Gaza conflict: losers and consequences

Uri Avnery looks at who has come out worse from the month-long Gaza conflict, and assesses the consequences for Israel domestically and internationally, and for Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. More »

Israeli degrading of international law

Israel and the erosion of international law

Lawrence Davidson looks at how criminal Israeli behaviour, and US protection of that behaviour at international forums, have degraded international humanitarian law, which is now selectively applied to target weak states. More »

Liar Binyamin Netanyahu

Israeli deceptions and Western collusion

Jonathan Cook explores the strategic objectives behind Israeli PM Netanyahu’s deception – parroted ad nauseum by Western media and politicians – from the alleged capture of an officer to the “self-defence” narrative. More »

Sharing

The case for a new global paradigm

Graham Peebles argues the case for global change which places sharing, sustainability and cooperation – not competition, greed and abundance – at its heart, and cultivates tolerance, individuality, trust and social unity. More »

Tunnel vision

Israel’s ever-changing goals, and its tunnel vision

Uri Avnery traces the ever changing goals of the Israeli aggression against Gaza, argues against demonizing “the enemy” and pleas for understanding – essential for waging war and making peace. 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.