During the past month alone, five Gazans have been executed with formal sanction from the Strip’s Hamas rulers, three of them shot to death in front of the families of their victims just last Tuesday. Their bloodied bodies were then unceremoniously dumped at the local Shifa Hospital.
These executions are not to be confused with the official free-for-all declared against anyone even remotely suspected of collaboration with Israel. Mere innuendo suffices in such cases without even the façade of due-process.
The three men put to death last week were charged with “civilian” crimes and tried in civilian courts. One, who was sentenced to death by a PA court seven years ago, is said to have murdered a woman; the other two were accused of killing money-changers.
In some societies, the US most notably, homicide can mandate capital punishment. However, forensic evidence rules are exacting and legal processes are prolonged and arduous. Appeal rights are abundant. All three of those executed last week had appealed to higher courts several times in vain.
In Gaza, legal proceedings are invariably summary shams, kangaroo-court style. Once an individual is accused, his fate is essentially sealed.
Strikingly, this elicits no significant censure among the world’s democracies, the very ones that have often been so quick to rebuke Israel for supposed over-reaction to Gazan aggression. A rare, wan murmur of protest came from an unidentified “top UN human rights official,” who told AP that “fair trials…are almost impossible in Gaza.”
Hamdi Shakour, of Gaza’s harassed Palestinian Center for Human Rights, was quoted in AP as branding the executions “the worst violation of the right to life.”
Generally, however, Gaza’s notions of justice appear to have caused next-to-no offense in the enlightened West. This is consistent with the remarkable silence that has greeted the gradual imposition on Gaza of restrictions that echo aspects of Shari’a law.
An iron curtain of a strict theocracy is slowly descending on Gaza, but many human rights proponents still prefer to depict it as the embattled bastion of freedom fighters.
“Immoderately” dressed women are frowned upon in today’s Gaza. Strolling with a man or even riding a motorcycle with one’s husband can invite questioning. “Modesty patrols”inspect cars to catch unmarried women with men who aren’t relatives.
Male hairstylists are banned from beauty parlors. Women lawyers have, on occasion, been required to don headscarves. The hijab and loose robes are mandatory in secondary schools. Men aren’t allowed to swim in the sea shirtless.
The degree of devotion and prayer habits by mosque worshipers are strictly monitored by appointed commissars. Internet cafes and Christian institutions are particularly popular targets.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, and not only according to Israeli intelligence reports. The emergence of Islamic despotism is Gaza is also borne out by Arabic publications both in the Middle East and beyond, including the London-based dailies Al-Hayat and Al-Quds al-Arabi.
Besides Hamas (an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood) and more extreme homegrown fundamentalist Salafi- jihadists, Gaza has become a magnet for fanatics from throughout the Muslim world, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It is, therefore, mind-boggling that while more and more voices
worldwide – including in Russia – advocate admitting Hamas into the
regional peace process, such as it is, no attention is paid to the
benighted transformation that Gaza is experiencing under Hamas hegemony.
This is an inexplicable and unconscionable lapse on the part of
ostensibly progressive governments, and no less a failure on the part of
professed human rights campaigners who claim to be spurred only by
angst for the humanitarian conditions and welfare of Gazans.
Both foreign governments and NGOs, in their inaction, are signaling to
Hamas that domestic oppression by its tyrannical regime is tolerable so
far as the international community is concerned.
The international community cannot seriously expect such a regime to be a
reliable interlocutor with which Israel can indeed negotiate
coexistence deals in good faith.
Look what it’s doing to its own people.