Monday, August 28, 2006

Hamas spokesman blames Palestinians for Gaza chaos

NY Times--JERUSALEM, Aug. 28 — In an unusual instance of self-criticism, a well-known Hamas official has deplored the collapse of Gazan life into chaos and has said that much of the blame belongs to Palestinians themselves.

“Gaza is suffering under the yoke of anarchy and the swords of thugs,” Ghazi Hamad, a former Hamas newspaper editor and the spokesman for the current Hamas government, wrote in an article published Sunday in Al Ayyam, the Palestinian newspaper.

After so much optimism when Israelis pulled out of Gaza a year ago, he wrote, “life became a nightmare and an intolerable burden.”

He urged Palestinians to look to themselves, not to Israel, for the causes. But he appeared not to be placing the blame on Hamas or the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister, Ismail Haniya of Hamas. He said various armed groups in the Gaza Strip — most affiliated with Fatah, Hamas’s rival — were responsible for the chaos.

“We’ve all been attacked by the bacteria of stupidity,” Mr. Hamad wrote. “We have lost our sense of direction.” He addressed the armed groups: “Please have mercy on Gaza. Have mercy on us from your demagogy, chaos, guns, thugs, infighting. Let Gaza breathe a bit. Let it live.”

He also questioned the utility of firing rockets into Israel that cause few casualties but result in many Palestinian deaths when the Israelis retaliate. He seemed to be arguing for other armed groups to follow the Hamas decision to halt rocket fire into Israel. His article was first described in English on Monday in The Jerusalem Post.

Jerusalem Post-'Gaza caught in anarchy and thuggery'