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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

AP: Palestinians in Gaza Face "Bleak Times"

Get out your hankies, and start to blow your nose and wipe the tears from your eyes as you read this hilarious story about the poor, poor Palestinians who have lost their zeal for life now that their very own terrorist organization has taken control of the Gaza Strip.

Darn, shucks, shit.

Hamas' Gaza faces bleak times

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Hani and Miriam's two-year-old son cried when fighting between Hamas and Fatah raged outside the family's Gaza City apartment, bullets coming through the windows. They told him the noise was just a party and the mortar blasts were the sound of frolicking elephants.

Two weeks later, with Hamas firmly in control of Gaza, the couple fear they won't be able to shield the boy and his newborn sister from the heightened isolation and poverty that seem sure to come.

Hamas has moved to restore law and order, collecting weapons, directing traffic and enforcing municipal codes at vegetable stands. But with Israel, its sworn enemy, in control of its borders, coastline and airspace — and with Fatah ignoring its pleas for a return to negotiations — even Hamas acknowledges it won't be able to go it alone in Gaza.

Hani, who gave only his first name because he belonged to a Fatah security force vanquished by Hamas, held his baby daughter in his arms as his wife explained in halting English that she's "very worried." On the day Hamas overran Gaza, Hani's boss, a well-known Fatah commander, committed suicide rather than be taken alive.

The end of the fighting between Hamas and Fatah has brought a measure of quiet to Gaza, however, and an amnesty declared for defeated Fatah fighters has largely held. Tens of thousands of Gazans flocked to the beach this weekend and streets and markets once again brimmed with life.

"This quietness is emerging from people's fear and trying to understand what has happened rather than an acceptance of what has taken place," said Ibrahem Ibrach, a political science professor at Gaza's al-Azhar University.

The green Hamas flag flies over security buildings once used by Fatah. Gaza's only remaining radio station — the Hamas-controlled Al Aqsa Radio — blares militant slogans. Secular men are growing beards in line with Islamic tradition.

Signs of the fighting are everywhere. Shattered windows of bullet-riddled and mortar-pocked buildings have yet to be replaced because people aren't sure the war is over.

Children wearing Islamic green head scarves march through Gaza's streets declaring loyalty to Hamas, and a joke e-mail circulating in Gaza shows an anti-bacterial liquid from Hamas' military wing with a label promising to cleanse "the corrupt, collaborators and mercenaries."

Oh, pity the poor Palestinians, now that they voted in Hamas last year in control of their government and Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in total.

The Palestinians have always been their worst enemy. This is one more piece of proof that they should never have their own country.

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