April 24, 2007

Tribal Gaza

This excerpt from a NY Times story today depicts how far the Palestinians have to travel to be capable of governing a "Palestinian State." The Israeli decision to leave Gaza allows the world to see the current state of affairs following the election of Hamas, a terrorist organization. As in much of the Middle East, tribal loyalties are more important than politics or democratic governance. Violence seems to be a way of life.

"Also in Gaza, around 200 men from the Abu Sharkh tribe, many armed with rifles and M16s, pushed their way into the parliament building, firing in the air, and carrying the body of 38-year-old Hassan Abu Sharkh on a stretcher.

The protesters briefly left Abu Sharkh's body in the plenum, pushing aside guards, chanting that the killers be bought to justice.

Abu Sharkh was shot in the head on Sunday, and his body dumped in a nearby park. Two other Palestinians were killed in internal fighting on the same day.

Such slayings have become a serious problem in Gaza, and killers are rarely bought to justice.

Smugglers and clansmen settle differences with guns, and bands of self-styled vigilantes have killed suspected pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, owners of music shops, internet cafes, pool halls -- activities which could divert people from worship -- and women suspected of sexual misconduct. Bystanders are often wounded or killed.

On Monday, a 12-year-old boy was shot dead in northern Gaza by a stray bullet fired by gunmen, while in a separate incident a 5-year-old girl suffered serious head wounds when she was hit by another stray bullet."

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