Tuesday, January 20, 2009


The cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is holding up so far, but that doesn't mean Hamas is behaving peacefully. Instead, it seems to be emerging from the conflict with an eye towards torturing and sometimes killing its political opponents:
Hamas militiamen have rounded up hundreds of Fatah activists on suspicion of "collaboration" with Israel during Operation Cast Lead, Fatah members in the Gaza Strip told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Hamas gunmen in the Gaza Strip.

They said the Hamas crackdown on Fatah intensified after the cease-fire went into effect early Sunday morning.

The Fatah members and eyewitnesses said the detainees were being held in school buildings and hospitals that Hamas had turned into make-shift interrogation centers.
A Fatah official in Ramallah told the Post that at least 100 of his men had been killed or wounded as a result of the massive Hamas crackdown. Some had been brutally tortured, he added.
Eyewitnesses said that Hamas militiamen had turned a number of hospitals and schools into temporary detention centers where dozens of Fatah members and supporters were being held on suspicion of helping Israel during the war.

The eyewitnesses said that a children's hospital and a mental health center in Gaza City, as well as a number of school buildings in Khan Yunis and Rafah, were among the places that Hamas had turned into "torture centers."

A Fatah activist in Gaza City claimed that as many as 80 members of his faction were either shot in the legs or had their hands broken for allegedly defying Hamas's house-arrest orders.

Hamas? Using schools and hospitals as bases to enact violent, thuggish, and authoritarian policies? Say it ain't so!

Anyway, the favored punishment seems to be shooting the alleged "collaborators" in the legs, but everything from summary execution to blinding has been reported as well.

My guess is that Hamas is attempting reassert its authority to show that it was not in any way weakened by the Israeli attack. I don't know if it was weakened or not, but in a sense it doesn't matter so long as it is still stronger than the alternatives, and my distinct suspicion is that in Gaza, Hamas remains significantly more powerful than Fatah.

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