At last count, there were 43 separate militias in Gaza, including clan based militias, Fatah splinter groups, criminal gangs, and non-Hamas Islamic groups. It is unclear as of this writing how long it will take Hamas to consolidate its control, and eliminate all possible resistance. But they will. To subdue one clan, they took three female civilian clan members, one a young girl, and executed them summarily as an example. Summary execution has always greeted those accused (no trials necessary in Palestine) of collaboration with Israel. Now collaboration with Fatah has become a capital offense as well. Military control is but one aspect of the story. Gaza is about to descend into a very dark night of the soul. Hamas will gradually monopolize and Islamicize all aspects of life. There have already been innumerable attacks on normal expressions of modernity. Nightclubs and internet cafes have been torched, gays murdered, churches burned (Palestine, which, until recently, was 7 percent Christian Arab, is now only about 2 percent Christian). Women who commit adultery face death by stoning, if their own brothers and fathers do not kill them first. Hundreds of women have already been strangled by their own family members in so-called “honor killings.” Women also face forced genital mutilations, and, of course, they will be required to take up the veil. The education system will become Islamic. Already, Mickey Mouse broadcasts a message of hate on Hamas TV. “Kill the Jew and the crusader” (i.e., Christians), preaches Hamas’ Mickey Mouse, “for they are all pigs and apes.” But this has been going on for years. Hamas’ “summer camps” routinely taught children how to become martyred suicide bombers. Those children have grown up to become the shock troops which made short order of Fatah in Gaza, and may someday soon do the same in the West Bank.
Hamas has at least 6,000 very well equipped fighters in Gaza, most of whom have been indoctrinated in jihad and hate since early childhood. Hamas has risen above the moniker of militia. It is now an army approximately equal in strength to Hizbollah in Lebanon, save only that their rockets are still cruder. Almost all of their weapons came through the honeycomb of tunnels dug under the town of Rafah, which straddles the Egypt-Palestine border. Egypt turned a blind eye to this smuggling. This was not so much a matter of Egyptian policy, but rather, Egypt’s poorly paid border patrol was simply bribed to look the other way. Israel, before it evacuated Gaza, tried to staunch the inflow of weapons by seeking and destroying those tunnels.
Enter one Rachel Corrie. ISM, a group dedicated to the Palestinian cause, and which in its literature fully supports Palestinian terrorism, sent Rachel Corrie to Rafah. The idea was that she and her friends, in the name of “peace,” would throw their bodies in front of Israeli bulldozers as they tried to uproot the tunnels. One such bulldozer accidentally ran her down (no one has alleged murder, though driver negligence may have been a factor). This happened at the height of the second intifada, and at time when over a thousand Israelis were blown up by Palestinian suicide bombers. Israel has since built security fences which have greatly diminished the number of suicide bombings, though there has been barely a let-up of Palestinian attempts to infiltrate Israel with suicide bombers. Only now, very few actually get through to their targets.
Berkeley is complicit in the takeover of Gaza by Hamas. City Council members Kriss Worthington and Linda Maio brought to the City Council a resolution effectively supporting Rachel Corrie, and pointedly ignoring all Israeli casualties. In effect, their resolution gave a vote of support for Hamas’ weapons smuggling. What were they thinking?
By all accounts, Worthington realizes that he made an error, and has tried to make amends. If I am correct in this, then I say to Worthington, to err is human, so let’s move on. Maio, on the other hand, continues to defend her outlandish behavior. I hope that one day a viable candidate will choose to run against Maio in her district. Such a candidate would receive a great deal of support by a community that is sick of Berkeley politicians who insert themselves into complex foreign issues of which they are almost wholly ignorant. As for becoming mayor one day, I say to Maio, run for mayor in Gaza, but not in Berkeley.