Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Working from Home in Gaza

Today I visited Abu Hassan and his family, my friends in Jabalya refugee camp. Abu and Om Hassan have eight children of which two are employed. Randa, their oldest is a school teacher while Hassan, the eldest son, works for the Palestinian “navy” (they don’t have any ships or other seaworthy vehicles, but they are responsible for Gaza’s seashore).

Since Hamas’ election victory early last year Hassan has not received a full month’s salary, going many months without pay. Today, for the first time in 17 months he did received a full month’s wages, and this while remaining home, actually being ordered by his commanders now in the West Bank to stay home. Government employed policemen also are staying home obeying similar orders. Hamas has replaced these with, for the most part quite capable Hamas traffic controllers. These Hamas men, who are now doing the work, are not being paid, while the original government employees (mainly Fatah supporters) remain home, yet are paid.

My friend Ra’ed was at my place earlier this morning and was outraged at this imbalanced and unjust situation. Reacting with reservation I tried to calm him justifying the situation as being such as the forces that be desire them to be. Later, I was shocked at my complacency. I do believe there is truth in my reasoning, yet should we none the less not be appalled at injustice?

Hassan is one of the many Fatah men who participated in a US-funded training camp, along with 40 of Dahlan’s men in Egypt two months ago. 250 of them returned during the first round of fighting in May. His hatred for Hamas runs deep, of the 500 men who trained in Egypt with him, four were killed last month. Many more were shot in the legs. He spoke of the likelihood of one of his colleagues wheeling himself into a mosque (in the Gaza Strip these are almost entirely run by Hamas) and blowing himself up among men who are fellow Palestinians, yet, political foes.

How terribly deep this division has seeped into the psyche of so many Palestinians.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting. It would be good to know more about this person. The US trained Fatah faction would seem to be 'the enemy' or acting on their behalf. How does this person view the Israeli-US sponsorship? Hearing about the deep hatred is scary and does not portend well. I wonder what 'psychological' training these Fatah soldiers received along with the weapons and military training?

Great blog! I just looked at some of the resource listings and the Interactive Map, Video with Arundati Roy, etc are excellent.

Thanks and please keep up the great work.