Powered by WebAds

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Honor and revenge

I think it's important to realize that much of the violence going on in Gaza (and for that matter Samaria) now relates to two strong characteristics of the Islamists: 'honor' and revenge.

I have discussed 'honor killings' several times on this blog. Typically, honor killings are when a woman is murdered by family members because she has 'disgraced' the family honor - whether by engaging in forbidden sexual relations, dressing 'immodestly' or otherwise behaving in a manner that damages the 'family honor.'

But honor is about a lot more than that. 'Palestinians' will behave violently against affronts to their honor. (By the way, so will some Jews, although we don't see Jews being murdered for 'honor).' For most of the time since there has been a 'Palestinian Authority,' Fatah has 'interrogated' (and worse) Hamas members. As Yitzchak Rabin famously quipped after Oslo, Arafat would fight terror "without a Supreme Court, without B'Tselem, and without bleeding heart liberals." Arafat filled that role when it suited him, and Hamas bristled not so much at being fought as at the offense to their 'honor.' Abu Mazen has been afraid to fill that role because he has nowhere near the loyal following or power that Arafat had. Arafat made sure of that.

When you read, for example,
At least 25 Palestinians were killed and 80 were wounded as Hamas fighters overran two of Fatah's most important security installations in the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Witnesses said the victors dragged vanquished gunmen from the building and shot them to death gangland-style in the street in front of their families.
keep in mind that those shootings aren't just random murders - they're 'honor killings.' Similarly, when I talked about a 'hit list' earlier today, that 'hit list' is a list of intended 'honor killings.' The hit list was all senior Fatah members. Those 25 'Palestinians' who were killed executed were not random Gazans. The average Gazan is not being pursued by Hamas - yet - although s/he may be caught in the crossfire. That explains phenomena like this:
Fatah said Hamas shot to death seven of its fighters outside the Preventive Security building. A doctor at Shifa Hospital, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said he examined two bodies that had been shot in the head at close range.

A witness, who identified himself only as Amjad, said men were killed before their wives and children.

"They are executing them one by one," Amjad said in a telephone interview, declining to give his full name for fear of reprisals. "They are carrying one of them on their shoulders, putting him on a sand dune, turning him around and shooting."


After the rout at the Preventive Security complex, some of the Hamas fighters kneeled down outside, touching their foreheads to the ground in prayer. Others led Fatah gunmen out of the building, some shirtless or in their underwear, holding their arms in the air. Several of the Fatah men flinched as the crack of gunfire split the air.

"We are telling our people that the past era has ended and will not return," Islam Shahawan, a Hamas spokesman, told Hamas radio. "The era of justice and Islamic rule have arrived."

Sami Abu Zuhri, another Hamas spokesman, heralded what he called "Gaza's second liberation," after the 2005 disengagement.
It's all a question of 'honor.' The men were being executed in front of their families to humiliate them.

Similarly, when Fatah attacked Hamas in Judea and Samaria today, that was a small attempt to regain the organization's lost 'honor.' We will likely see more of these types of incidents tomorrow, now that Abu Mazen has ordered Fatah out of its defensive posture. But the victims are real Hamas 'activists' and not the average person in the street who keeps to himself - as long as s/he doesn't get caught in the crossfire:
Arrests of Hamas activists were reported in the West Bank towns of Jenin, Nablus, Jericho, Ramallah and Bethlehem.

In Bethlehem, security forces wore ski masks, to avoid being identified, as they seized Hamas activists in their homes and businesses, witnesses said.

In Nablus, masked security agents and Fatah gunmen rode together in cars, searching for Hamas members, and broke into several homes of Hamas activists. In one area, a brief firefight erupted.

Also Thursday, Fatah gunmen seized a Hamas preacher from a West Bank village and shot him in the legs, security officials said. Later, Fatah activists kidnapped three more Hamas activists from a building in downtown Ramallah.

In Ramallah's Al Quds University, Fatah-allied students kicked out Hamas supporters and forced a suspension of teaching, the officials said.

In Nablus, dozens of gunmen set fire to the third-floor office of several Hamas members of parliament and threw furniture into the street.
For more on the role of 'honor' (and shame) in 'Palestinian' culture go here and here.


At 10:23 PM, Blogger Elder of Ziyon said...

The honor/shame culture of Arabs explains a huge number of behaviors. See my in-progress Psychological History of Palestinian Arabs, especially part 1.

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Annie said...

That explains why The Washington Post had a headline this morning "Hamas Grants Amnesty to Fatah Leaders."

Thank you for the insightful analysis.


Post a Comment

<< Home