TTIP threat to NHS

Scramble to conclude suspicious EU-US trade deal

With the UK industry in intensive care, Stuart Littlewood asks whether Britons should throw open the door and allow US big business to muscle in under cover of a trade treaty. More »

Netanyahu's war electioneering

Netanyahu trying to provoke war to win election

Uri Avnery explains why many Israelis believe that the sudden flair up on the border with Syria, caused by an unprovoked Israeli attack, was an election ploy by Netanyahu and his companions. More »

Pope Francis and Shimon Peres

A challenge for Pope Francis

Stuart Littlewood calls on Pope Francis to go beyond using fine and pious words, challenge Israeli crime in the Holy Land, and pluck up the courage to visit the besieged Gaza Strip. More »

Binyamin Netanyahu and Europe's right

Netanyahu, Europe’s far right find common ground

Jonathan Cook says Israel’s PM and Europe’s far right’s common vision is a Europe free of Jews, who should be in Israel, and free of Muslims, who risk undermining support for Israel. More »

Terror in Paris

Terror in Paris: how we got there and a way out

Lawrence Davidson views the Paris attacks in the broader contexts that contributed to them, and asks how much blood has to be shed before we honour the only escape route: international law. More »

Netanyahu waving at Paris demonstration

Paris attacks – Islamists’ gift to Israel

Uri Avnery argues that the jihadist terrorist attacks in Paris benefited Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli right and Zionism in general, and may also help entrench the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. More »

Jewish censorship

UK Zionist mafia’s onslaught against free speech

Stuart Littlewood looks at how Britain’s Zionist lobby is sabotaging freedom of speech by bullying politicians and journalists who speak the truth about Israel, most recently BBC reporter Tim Willcox. More »

Netanyahu-Livni-Paris

War crimes suspects lead Paris anti-terror march

Stuart Littlewood voices incredulity at the appearance of war criminals Binyamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni, and Jewish squatter leader Naftali Bennett, at the Pars march marking the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack. More »

Greater Israel

Israel’s March 2015 elections

Lawrence Davidson explains why regardless of the outcome of the March elections, Israel’s habitual violence and its ongoing violation of international laws and the standards of human rights will not change. 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.