The security forces of the ousted HAMAS government now in control of the Gaza Strip crushed today, Tuesday, a mass rally to protest the Israeli aggression against Syria. The rally was organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, PFLP, in the city of Khan Younis. The PFLP is one of a handful of Palestinian secular leftist political factions who still believe in the notion of armed struggle as a means for the liberation of Palestine. The participants in the rally carried signs with photos of Hasan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah in addition to the Syrian and Palestinian flags. They also carried other banners with an X sign on the photo of Yousof al-Qardhawi who is expected to arrive to the Gaza Strip leading a delegation of the Muslim Ulama, (men learned in religious affairs). Al-Qardhawi who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement is mocked for his close association with the prince of Qatar, who is leading a pro-western Arab alliance to bring down the regime of Bashshar al-Asad in Syria. The Israeli air strikes against Syria in the weekend created a strong impression that the pro-American and Western Arab alliance opposed to the Syrian regime is in cohort with the Zionist state. The ousted HAMAS government in the Gaza Strip fined itself in a difficult position. In one hand it tries to distinguish itself from the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank through its insistence on the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to resist the Israeli occupation by all means, including armed struggle, but on the other hand it is at odds with its closest ideological allies in the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria who maintain suspicious relationships with the United States and Israel. What complicate matters even more for HAMAS are the most recent Saudi Qatari concessions promising to modify the “Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 by accepting the notion of land swaps to accommodate the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. It is worth mentioning here that Khaled Mish’l HAMAS’s head of political Bureau has moved his headquarter from Damascus to Qatar after the break out of the Syrian civil war.
The HAMAS security forces used clubs and sticks to break the rally which lead to three light injuries. Journalists at the scene were forbidden from taking pictures or reporting the crack down on the rally. A number of the journalists present at the scene were detained and taken for interrogation by Hamas security. The Palestinian Union of Journalists condemned Hamas’s action and demanded an immediate release of the journalists. A statement by the Palestinian Union of Journalists criticized the assault and the arrest of reporters in this arbitrary fashion as against the Palestinian law which guarantees the freedom of reporting and flow of information, and demanded an immediate investigation of this incident.
The head of the information office of the ousted Hamas government in Gaza, Ehab al-Ghusayn expressed his rejection and apology for what happened. He made this clear on his facebook page considering what happened in Khan Younis to a number of journalists while doing their work at the hand of the police regrettable. He added that he requested the creation of a committee to investigate this incident and find out who is responsible for it and hold them accountable. However, his facebook statement did not refer to the violent treatment of the other participants in the rally.