Sunday, October 16, 2005

Gaza Thuggery

From "Stand for Israel" Friday, October 14, 2005, by Gary Bauer, co-chair...

In the month since Israel left the Gaza Strip, the lives of average Palestinians have taken a decided turn for the worse. With no more Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers to maintain order, and with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas unwilling to confront the armed terrorist gangs, Gaza is increasingly at the mercy of thugs, criminals and murderers.

The Washington Post reports that some Palestinian security commanders have literally become “warlords.” They use the thousands of men under their command to rob, extort and “run” weapons. What about the police? Many of them are holding down two jobs—policeman by day and paid gunman in the militias by night.

One of these warlords, Jamal Abu Samhadana, has an armed militia of 2,000 gunmen and is now the most powerful force along part of the border between Gaza and Egypt.

Palestinian civilians live in fear of these thugs who control the streets and take whatever they want. During the time Israel was in Gaza, the international media did endless interviews with Palestinians who complained about being under “occupation.” But now most of the world ignores the plight of Palestinians who increasingly live in fear— not of the IDF, but of the thousands of armed thugs who roam the streets of Gaza at will.

How can Gaza possibly be the foundation of a new Palestinian state that is supposed to live side by side in peace with Israel as President Bush and others envision? How can there be economic progress, political reform or democratic institutions established if all power in Gaza comes from the barrel of a gun? And how can anyone argue that Israel should make more concessions in Judea-Samaria or in Jerusalem when the Palestinians have not demonstrated the ability to govern themselves in Gaza? ....

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