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No place is safe from violence within Palestinian society

Vrijdag, Oktober 27, 2006 / Last Modified: Zaterdag, December 31, 2011

MEMRI, October 27, 2006.

In mid-October, Palestinian government spokesman Ghazi Hamad and Abdallah
‘Awad, columnist for the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Ayyam, both published
op-eds in that paper expressing scathing criticism of the situation in Palestinian
society. In his op-ed, ‘Awad blasted all the Palestinian factions and their leaders
for their “lies and deception,” [1] and in his, Dr. Hamad depicted the violence
amongst the Palestinians as a cancer from which Palestinian society is
suffering. [2]

The following is a translation of excerpts from both articles:

The Palestinian Leaders Are Power-Thirsty Liars

Abdallah ‘Awad wrote: “…Why has the Palestinian people lost its faith in the
factions? How have the factions [come to the point where they] designate
militias to battle each other and clash with each other – militias that act,
literally, as mercenaries? How have the Palestinians arrived at [a situation in
which] they think voluntarily about emigrating, and even discuss it [in practical
terms]? Why is there militarization in [Palestinian] society that [sets its
members] against each other? Why has society become emptied of the true
militarization, [which should be directed] against the occupation? How is it that
the political factions have led the Palestinian people to the brink of national,
political, economic, and social disaster? Who is responsible for the state of
chaos, the havoc, and the collapse of morality, society, and internal security?

“Our leaders have nothing to tell [us] but lies and deception, because they have
become sickly, failed, and afraid of the truth, since they are subjugate to the
culture of factions, of opportunism, of [special] interests… and of narcissism.
Nothing interests them but satisfying their unbridled lusts and urges to rule,
their madness, their self-love, and their love of power.

“The motive behind the Fatah and Hamas leaders in these miserable moments is
the chauvinistic, overbearing thought that has no room for people, country,
homeland or history. Everybody has relinquished the homeland, and has sunk to
waging a war of dahis wal-ghabra [a pre-Islamic 40-year war that began over a
horse race] over this regime…

“In the meantime, the sins of the occupation and its crimes against the land and
the individual are being deleted from the dictionary… in favor of the civil war to
which the factions are mobilizing [their men] – after turning the men of the
resistance into private militias that act as the contractor of the factions or of
the leaders. This means that the Palestinian factions have reached the end of
their road, and have begun to play the game of the occupation…”

The Plans of Hamas and Fatah Are Leading to Disaster

“… When Hamas says no to recognition [of Israel], its aim is to protect itself
and its existence, which is exactly what motivates Fatah to insist [on
protecting] the signed agreements, the U.N. resolutions, and the Arab
resolutions. In actuality, the words [of both] are worthless; the land is under
occupation, and the people are subject to repression. In short, the plans of both
[Fatah and Hamas] are the path to disaster [that will haunt] what remains of the
Palestinian cause.

Whether Hamas and its government recognizes [Israel] or
not, and whether Fatah and the Palestinian Authority sign [agreements] or not,
the Hebrew state is continuing with its plan to eradicate [the Palestinians’]
geography and demography. The sight is horrendous – but these leaders are
struck completely blind, and are sunk deeply in lies, while the people burns in
the fire of Hell.

“News flashes report on ‘Casualties in Bombing of Occupation Plane and
Casualties in Clashes Between Fatah Elements and the Hamas Executive Force.’
This short description [encapsulates] the tragic situation at which the public has
arrived. As if killing by the occupation is not enough – there must also be killing
by the [Palestinian] factions. In this bloody drama, neither Hamas nor Fatah are

The Palestinian Factions Have Become Another, More Repressive, Occupation

“The factions, which not long ago were, in the eyes of the public, the
guarantee for ridding ourselves of the occupation and for freedom and
independence, have become… another occupation, more repressive than the
[Israeli] occupation itself… We must condemn the lies of the leaders who will, if
they remain in their posts and in their positions, lead us to the abyss and to the
next catastrophe. Every week there are hundreds of shahids [martyrs],
casualties, and detainees, and the occupation wages a war of killing and of
causing people to emigrate as if it is amusing itself – but it is legitimate to ask,
where is the resistance that [our] arrogant leaders talk about? Where are the
casualties of the martyrdom operations? The occupation spares no effort to
make the people’s lives an insufferable hell, with the permanent and temporary
roadblocks…, with the daily humiliation and scorn. So where is the
resistance?… Where are the operations by Hamas? If this [period of] mad
escalation in the war [being waged by] the Hebrew state is not the right time
[for the resistance to act], when [will] the right time [come]?…

“Basically, the factions were created for the sake of the resistance and of the
liberation of the land. Has the land been liberated? Has the aggression ceased?
Has the Zionist enterprise ended, with clear borders? The answer is obvious;
what is not obvious is how the [Palestinian] factions can [continue] to lie [to the

No Place is Safe from Violence within Palestinian Society

Palestinian Government Spokesman Dr. Ghazi Hamad wrote: “Are we really a
violent society? Have we contracted a chronic disease of violence that has
caused us to lose our immunity, [and] has infiltrated our homes and robbed us
of our tranquility and security? Are we locked in the prison cell of violence,
doomed to carry [this burden] on our backs against our will? Do we believe that
all our problems cannot be solved except by violence: by the bullet, the shell,
the flyer calling for aid, and by harsh language? Has the violence become a
culture implanted in our body, in our flesh, and in our bones, to the point where
it clings to us in sleep and in waking? I fear that we have surrendered to it, and
it has become the master that we obey everywhere – in the home, in the
neighborhood, in the family, in the tribe, [and] in the organization or the
university – and no place remains safe from it.

“The violence toys with us, leads us, and drags us into the abyss!! Even our
children have lost [their] innocence and become filled with both fear and
violence. It has become a terrifying nightmare that pursues us with an axe of
death, dripping with blood. We have become captives in the hands of the
violence that has taken the best of our children and our sons from us…

“Our celebrations have no point or meaning, unless during them we fire a volley
of bullets that echoes alongside the women’s ululations of joy. Under sad
circumstances and at funerals, our heroes volunteer to ‘puncture’ the air with
hundreds of shots from their rifles. It is inconceivable for our marches –
whatever their goals and political color – not to have dozens of rifles and armed
gangs climbing on cars and aiming rifles, and youths leaning out of car
windows waving the barrels of the Kalashnikovs and roaring with joy.”

Even Social and Personal Problems Are Handled by the Armed Groups

“Even family problems have been affected by the chronic disease of violence!!
If there is a dispute over a piece of land, shooting comes before words. If there
is a dispute over words, the [solution that comes to mind is always] a bomb,
and if there is a divorce or marriage problem, the solution is the Kalashnikov,
instead of [appealing to] someone qualified to handle marriage and divorce
contracts. Celebrations have become a house of mourning.

“Violence has come into our political disagreements, so as to rob us of our
brotherhood and love and to give us in exchange hatred, loathing, and tears. It
has robbed us of the language of brotherhood, and has furtively equipped us
with weapons. It has robbed us of our love that gathered us under the roof of
the homeland… It has robbed us of our unity, and torn us into two camps –
even into three or 10. It has made the catastrophe between us insufferably

“When we are angry at the electric company, we have no solution but to
shatter its [equipment] and break its furniture. When we are angry at the
municipality or at the governor, we call in a group of masked gunmen – the
heroes of our age – to climb on the rooftop and draw their weapons in front of
the satellite TV [reporters]. With the smallest battle cry, non-violent marches
become marches of stones, gunfire, and clashes. Instead of strikes having a
civilized and legal nature, they have sometimes turned into violence that
damages schools, public institutions, and roads.

“When a man is angry at his wife, he comes with a group of gunmen ready to
block roads to travelers. A referral to medical care abroad is obtained by force
of arms and strong-arm tactics, and you can hold your place in line at the Rafah
crossing with a group of gunmen. The hospital has become easy prey, and
doctors are forced to work with weapons drawn in their faces. We have
destroyed the schools with our violence, attacked the Legislative Council with
our weapons, set fire to the government [offices], and drawn weapons at
members of parliament, ministers, and other senior officials. What remains of
the homeland?…”

All the Palestinians Are Responsible for the Violence

“What remains to us, when we use violence against ourselves, against our
residents, against those whom we are meant to protect? Shouldn’t we be
ashamed of ourselves, of these shameful behaviors that disgrace us before our
people and before the world? Then we appear at press conferences in clean,
elegant clothes, and say to our Palestinian people; ‘Palestinian blood is the red
line, Palestinian blood is sacred’…

“The violence is not only a party or political phenomenon, but is culture,
education, and behavior. It should not be dealt with only by means of a
government office or laws… When the home sows violence, and when the
establishment and the organizations sow violence, [when] there is violence in
the street, at weddings, and at funerals, who is responsible? Do we all bear the
responsibility? Yes! Are we [all] accomplices to this grave accusation? Yes! Can
we remove violence from our dictionary, and institute a language of dialogue
and cooperation? Yes, we can, if there is honest intent, national sentiment, and
energetic effort! All of us – the government, the people, the factions, the
intellectuals, the thinkers, and the authors – must act in the homeland in order
to uproot these rank weeds and to make flowers bloom. Then we will see the


[1] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), October 15, 2006. For a previous article
by Palestinian Government Spokesman Dr. Ghazi Hamad, see MEMRI Special
Dispatch No. 1268, “Scathing Self-Criticism by Hamas Government
Spokesman,” August 29, 2006,
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP126806 .

[2] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), October 17, 2006.

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