Hamas’s reactionary colours

For years we have avoided publicly criticizing the Palestinian movement Hamas because we do not wish to fall into the propaganda trap of racist Israel and its hypocritical allies in the European Union and the United States.

But there are things over which we cannot remain silent, even though we have to be judicious with what we say and careful not to give our Zionist enemies ammunition with which to pursue their evil aims.

Hamas, it is no secret, is an Islamist body – the Palestinian branch of the cult of Hassan al-Banna, also known as the Muslim Brotherhood. As such, it is an ultra-reactionary organization with an ultra-reactionary domestic agenda.

It has administered the Gaza Strip since fighting a brief civil war with Fatah in 2007, a year after it won a majority in Palestinian parliamentary polls. Although its mandate has now expired, it has failed to hold new elections lest it loses.

One example of Hamas’s retrograde attitude to society is its decision last month to ban women from running in a marathon organized by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA. This prompted the agency to cancel the event.

“…[W]e don’t want men and women running together,” Abd-al-Salam Siyyam, the cabinet secretary of the Hamas administration, told AFP news agency.

“We did not tell UNRWA to cancel the marathon and we haven’t prevented it, but we laid down some conditions: we don’t want women and men mixing in the same place,” he added.

In previous years, Hamas supported the race and provided security. However, buoyed by the victory of its parent organization in neighbouring Egypt, it has now started to  put its backward social agenda into practice.

Thus, we now learn that Hamas has enacted a law on gender segregation that will bar men from teaching at girls’ schools and mandate separate classes for boys and girls from the age of nine.

One Gaza-based Palestinian activist for women’s rights, Zeinab Ghoneimi, told Palestinian radio that the new law was part of a Hamas project to impose its values on Gaza residents.

“To say that the old law did not respect the community’s traditions and that they [Hamas] wanted to reform people now is an insult to the community,” she said.

“Instead of hiding behind traditions, why don’t they say clearly they are Islamists and they want to Islamize the community,” she added.

Other backward measures forced by Hamas on Gaza’s residents in recent years have included imposing Islamic dress on female lawyers and school girls, banning men from working as hairdressers for women and interrogating couples walking in Gaza’s streets.

It is the Palestinians’ tragedy that the only credible choice they have is between the corrupt quisling Fatah and the ultra-reactionary Islamist Hamas. Consequently, while Israel is busy irretrievably creating facts on the ground by grabbing more and more Palestinian land, Fatah officials are lining their pockets with foreign aid and their Hamas counterparts, as with Islamists everywhere, are preoccupied with their obsession with sex and gender.


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