Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Palestinian Reactions to Monday's Deadly Rally in Gaza

Monday's rally to mark the third anniversary of Arafat's death in Gaza City turned deadly, as Hamas militiamen violently dispersed a massive crowd there to commemerate their former leader. Seven people were killed and 75 wounded, according to Palestinian officials.

While Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Ehab Ghussein charged that "armed men from the Fatah movement initially opened fire," a Washington Post reporter on the scene stated that he saw no Fatah gunmen at the rally or in its vicinity. And Palestine TV reported that Hamas militiamen fired into the crowd from the roof of Al-Azhar University. In addition Hamas militiamen moved in to arrest and beat people in the crowd, and ordered journalists not to film the event. Here's what Amira Hass and the Palestinians themselves had to say about Monday's violence.
david brumer

The Fatah Rally in Gaza
- Amira Hass

"Hamas remains strong among the public. What happened on Monday does not testify to the strength or the weakness of the movement. It testifies to a lack of leadership." For quite some time he has been saying how dangerous it is that Hamas clings to rule over the Gaza enclave, while it is unable to satisfy basic social and economic needs (let alone its promises of independence). An Islamic leadership has redoubled responsibility if it wants to rule, he says. It must be committed not only to the people, but also to Islam. Therefore, in his assessment, the international Muslim Brotherhood movement will reconsider its position regarding the Hamas regime in Gaza. It will not allow that regime to sully so badly the reputation of either its mother movement, or worse, of Islam itself.

"It was women whose votes had led to the defeat of Fatah in 2006, so it was significant now that many women came to the rally. I saw one woman go up to an armed policeman and dare him: Kill me, you Shi'ite." This was related by a devout Muslim, a Hamas adherent who left the movement. "The masses who came to the rally did not come for Arafat or for Mohammad Dahlan, or because they were promised NIS 200 or a phone card. They came out of hatred for Hamas," says the former movement activist.
A friend of his, who has remained a Hamas activist, agrees: "There has been a consolidation among some of the Fatah activists, because of anger and hatred for Hamas, after mistakes of ours that are impossible to ignore....We knew that there was a large public in Gaza that supports Fatah, which hasn't disappeared. But this is a public without a leadership. The leaders have fled." (Ha'aretz)

See also Anger in the Palestinian Press at Gaza Deaths
(BBC News)

Excessive and Lethal Use of Force Against Civilians in Gaza
Pictures showed members of the police firing indiscriminately at the rally participants. The police also chased rally participants and beat them with batons and sticks. Our staff did not find any member of the police who was injured by
gunfire. (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)

1 comment:

Lao Qiao said...

FAITH—A poem

Hamas, O Hamas, you've just got to kill.
If you have faith, you must find the will.
Fatah, O Fatah, you've just got to slay.
The mercy of jihad teaches: Death is the way.

Fatah and Hamas, you both hate the Jews.
Yet you must battle, despite your shared views.
Killing a Muslim is certainly sad.
But refraining from killing is sinfully bad.