Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hamas is Turning the Gaza Strip into a Repressive, Radical Islamist, Terrorist State Allied to Iran

By Barry Rubin

Hamas is Turning the Gaza Strip into a Repressive, Radical Islamist, Terrorist State Allied to Iran. Might this suggest the need for concerted Western action to eliminate this threat? Apparently not.

Here’s a detailed report on how Hamas is gradually turning the Gaza Strip into an Islamist state by a wide variety of activities including: indoctrination of children in its Islamist beliefs, control of the media, gender segregation, banning of alcohol, spending considerable parts of its limited funds on building additional mosques (the number has doubled in eight years) fully controlled by Hamas, and creation of morals’ police.

Traditional weddings have been broken up (because they played music) and two singers have been arrested because of their song lyrics. Chewing gum is banned, clothing stores are inspected and items removed if they don’t correspond with Hamas’s dress code.

Paramilitary summer camps have been created to prepare young people to be terrorists. There, in school, and in children's television shows, kids are being taught systematic hatred of Jews, Christians, and the West, while being told that violence is the remedy to wipe out all these evil forces.

Courts are being made into places purely for the enforcement of Islamic law as interpreted by Hamas. Fatah supporters are repressed or forced out of jobs. “Islamic” banks established and favored by Hamas to keep control of the economy in its hands.

The Hamas-controlled Gaza media publicize radical religious views, for example, that a father cannot stop his son from engaging in armed Jihad—which contradicts the traditional idea of him as the ultimate authority figure. Hamas doctrine is now to override family loyalty.

These actions are deepening the gap between the Gaza Strip and West Bank, making it unlikely that Fatah will ever win back control in Gaza or that the two groups can work together. As a result, any successful Arab-Israeli or Israeli-Palestinian peace process becomes impossible.

Iran and its allies are more able to spread their influence and subversion to other places in the region, increasing their ability to expel Western influence from the whole area.

Might this have some damaging effect on Western interests?

Could this possibly be a more urgent world problem than Israeli construction of apartments on settlements or, as happened last week, the secretary of state's outspoken indignation when two Palestinian families in Jerusalem were evicted for non-payment of rent after a long court case?

Should a U.S. and European goal be the overthrow of the Hamas regime instead of, as happened last January, saving it from Israel’s military offensive?

Could human rights’ and other groups focus on Hamas’s totalitarian direction, crushing of any freedom, and dragooning Gaza’s inhabitants toward decades of war and bloodshed. Instead they are becoming conduits for Hamas’s false charges of war crimes against Israel, which all remain unproven.

It would prove impossible to organize a large demonstration in any Western country about Hamas's destruction of women's rights and indoctrination of children to blow themselves up as terrorists, yet easy to do so in favor of Hamas or at least against Israel defending itself from Hamas's attacks.

Isn’t it clear that Gaza will become another base for spreading radical Islamist subversion and terrorism to other Arabic-speaking societies, first and foremost the West Bank and Egypt?

Is this all so hard to understand?

But here one sees the value of the obsession with bashing, demonizing, and scapegoating Israel to the point that nothing else in the region seems very important or harmful in comparison. After all, it takes a very powerful, passionate set of excuses and distractions to hide what is so evident and dangerous for those all too oblivious to the threat.

While Western countries have put strong sanctions on the Hamas regime, there is also increasing pressure, notably in Britain, to negotiate with Hamas. In the Western media and among “experts” there is talk about Hamas as becoming more moderate. It is likely that the current level of pressures on the Hamas regime will remain but they will be kept at too low a level to force change. Instead, the push is to "relieve" problems in Gaza by sending in more aid, with Hamas inevitably using these resources to build its military and preserve its rule. 

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