Thursday, July 19, 2007

A wedding/ Law of the Fist

Tuesday night I attended a huge party in central Gaza. Somewhere around 1000 men and boys (women met elsewhere separately) gathered in a square in Deir Al-Balach to celebrate Hamza's wedding the following day. The party was a hardcore Fatah celebration and seemed to be almost overshadowed by the constant mention of the groom's political affiliation. The stage was covered in Fatah paraphernalia, most central a picture of a "martyred" friend.

In recent days Gaza has internally become more and more organized, laws are upheld. At the Deer Al-Balach party no gun was fired because Hamas has outlawed it, in the past a party this size would have witnessed an array of gunfire. Thankfully there was no sign of Hamas forces either. I have been told unconfirmed stories of
Hamas breaking up Fatah parties in Rafah. The newfound law and order has been enforced with the fist in Gaza. I appreciate the fact that such a party can go on without a Hamas crackdown, and yet lately there have been reports of an increase lacking of freedom of expression and breaking of human rights. With one party in power and no real opposition there are few checks and balances to what Hamas can and cannot do. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza had this report,

Detention and Torture of a Police Officer

On Sunday evening, 15 July 2007, the Executive Force arrested Isma’il ‘Ezzat Sha’ban, 32, a police officer from Jabalya town. Sha’ban was detained until Monday morning. During his detention and interrogation, he was beaten and tortured. As a result, he was injured to the head. PCHR has photographs showing signs of torture on his head, back and left hand. Sha’ban stated to PCHR that at approximately 17:30 on Sunday, 15 July 2007, a number of members of the Executive Force came to his house and demanded him to accompany them to an outpost of the Force. They agreed to allow him to change his clothes and then follow them to their outpost. He actually went to the outpost. There, he was violently beaten throughout his body and was verbally insulted by members of the Executive Force. He was then transferred to the headquarters of the Executive Force in Jabalya refugee camp. There, he was violently beaten again. Members of the Executive Force asked him about the reasons of his absence from his work, and he told them that he would not attend his work and that “his legitimate command is in Ramallah”, in reference to an order issued by the chief of police to all police officers to abstain from attending their jobs in the Gaza Strip following Hamas’ takeover. At approximately 01:00 on Monday, Sha’ban was blindfolded and a person stitched his injury in the head without anesthesia. His request to be seen by a doctor or transferred to a hospital was refused. He was then transported in a jeep and was dumped nearly 100 meters away. In the morning, he went to a hospital in Beit Lahia to receive medical treatment.

One cannot forget that in the very building that these men are being tortured in, the perpetrators may well have been tortured themselves by those who today are the victims. Under no circumstances does this justify their actions today. The tables of injustice have turned.
Nothing is black and white.