August 29, 2006 Special Dispatch No. 1268

Scathing Self-Criticism by the Hamas Government Spokesman

August 29, 2006
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 1268

PA Government Spokesman Dr. Ghazi Hamad published, in the PA daily Al-Ayyam, a critique of current events in the Gaza Strip, including scathing criticism of the Hamas government itself and the Palestinian resistance.

The following are excerpts: [1]

The Reality in Gaza is Miserable, Wretched, and a Failure in Every Sense of the Word

"...I want to make a reckoning and own up to our mistakes. We are always afraid to speak honestly about our mistakes, as we have become accustomed to placing the blame on other factors. The anarchy, chaos, pointless murders, the plundering of lands, family feuds... what do all of these have to do with the occupation? We have always been accustomed to pinning our failures on others, and conspiratorial thinking is still widespread among us...

"We exhausted our people time after time with errors in which everyone played a role...

"The question is: Why did we not keep Gaza's freedom? In the past we said, time and again, that we are in favor of the liberation of every inch of land. Today we have thousands of inches - 365 square kilometers - and nonetheless we have not succeeded in keeping this great blessing, and we have begun to lose it...

"A simple statistical calculation shows that since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, 500 Palestinians have been killed and over 3,000 wounded. There are 200 handicapped, and more than 150 homes have been demolished - and this in addition to the destruction of the infrastructure, the bridges, and the electric power plants. The number of Israelis killed by [Palestinian] rockets is no more than three or four... Would it not have been possible to limit our losses and maximize our achievements, if we had only used our minds?...

"When you walk around in Gaza, you cannot help but avert your eyes from what you see: indescribable anarchy, policemen that nobody cares about, youth proudly carrying weapons, mourning tents set up in the middle of main streets, and from time to time you hear that so-and-so was murdered in the middle of the night, and the response comes quickly the next morning. Large families carry weapons in tribal wars against other families. Gaza has turned into a garbage dump, there is a stench, and sewage flows [in the streets].

"The government cannot do anything, the opposition [Fatah] looks on from the sidelines, engaged in internal bickering, and the president has no power... We are walking aimlessly in the streets. The reality in which we are living in Gaza can only be described as miserable and wretched, and as a failure in every sense of the word. We applauded the elections and the unique democratic experience, but in reality there has been a great step backwards. We spoke of national consensus, [but] it turned out to be like a leaf blowing in the wind..."

What Does the Resistance Gain if the Country is All Chaos, Replete With Corruption, Crime, and Futile Murder?

"With all my respect for the resistance and its courageous achievements, which we salute with admiration and appreciation, it too has made many mistakes, including gang-like and divisive [activities]. Everyone does what is right in his own eyes. In the absence of a political [goal] that complements the resistance, the resistance sometimes becomes a kind of competition between the factions in publicizing announcements, in taking responsibility [for operations], and competing in military parades. We have never acted or thought in a unified manner. Even when mistakes were made, we were afraid to talk about them, for fear that it would be said that so-and-so is opposed to the resistance. Therefore, everybody covered up these mistakes.

"It is strange that when a great effort was made to reopen the Rafah Crossing in order to make [life] easier for the residents, somebody fires a missile towards the crossing, or that when there is talk about the need for tahdiah ["calm"], somebody fires another missile...

"I have asked myself: What does the resistance gain if the country is all chaos, replete with corruption, crime, and futile murder? Isn't the building of the homeland part of resistance? Isn't cleanliness, order, and respect for the law part of resistance? Isn't strengthening social relations part of the policy of shortening the life of the occupation? We have lost the connection between the resistance and other aspects of life. There is an abyss between the resistance, politics and the people. That is why the people are scattered, with no unifying or organizing [hand].

"The kidnapping of foreign journalists has become a desirable trade for gaining minor, trivial profits, and it is no longer of importance that the Palestinian cause is being harmed, or that its image has been damaged in the eyes of the world, so long as a certain faction gains first place in the media, is in the spotlight of the cameras, and on the news.

"...Sometimes we laugh at ourselves when we see all these conferences and meetings and announcements, while there is no trace of any of that in reality. We talk unclearly, spin our wheels, steal our people's blood, and deprive it of even a moment of peace. So many families are tormented and slaughtered, and so many families are in distress because of their miserable lives. So many shout [in despair], but nobody hears.

"Have mercy on Gaza. Have mercy on it, [and save it] from your rule of the streets, from your chaos, from your futile weapons, and from your gangsters. Have mercy on it, [and save it] from your bitter quarrels and your verbal extremism... Have mercy on it by giving precedence to the homeland over a party or faction..."

Avoiding a Reckoning Will Add Pain Upon Our Pain and Wounds Upon Our Wounds

"Many will accept my words, and some will not accept them, or will not want to hear them. Some will look for flaws, and may find what they want, but Allah is my witness that I write these words only out of concern for Gaza and its citizens (out of concern for my homeland), and out of a persistent desire to give hope to our people, and to give it a strong sense that we [stand] alongside it.

"None of what I wrote refutes what has been said about the occupation... But this time I ask that we judge ourselves justly, appointing our people's conscience and interests as judges. Avoiding [the need for] a reckoning or so-called self-flagellation will add pain upon our pain and wounds upon our wounds. Let us have a little courage to say with honesty: Here we hit the target, and here we missed. This is the only way the countenance of Gaza and of the homeland will change."

[1] Al-Ayyam (PA), August 27, 2006.

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