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Hamas Cuts Off Nose To Spite Its Face


Punitive measures enforced by Egypt and the incompetence of the ruling Hamas government have combined to make the humanitarian disaster in Gaza one of the most sickening around. The NYT reports that a shortage of electricity and cheap diesel fuel from Egypt has led the Hamas government to shut down Gaza’s lone power plant, causing sewage stations to stop working. So instead of paying a tax to its rival faction in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority, to import fuel, Hamas has chosen to cut power to hospitals, schools and sewer plants. The results are devastating:

Businesses have cut back production, hospitals are rationing electricity to keep dialysis and cardiac support systems running, students are doing Internet research in the middle of the night and battery sales are brisk. Everywhere, the drone of generators mixes with the odor of kerosene lamps. […]

And in the Sabra neighborhood, near the Zeitoun pumping station, which has flooded three times since Sunday, the stench of sewage hung over the pools of standing water in the streets. Mosquitoes abounded, and residents said their children were vomiting and had diarrhea.

Note that the situation in Gaza has worsened since Israel has reduced its border controls. Since Morsi’s ouster from Egypt, the delivery of goods from Israel into Gaza has increased nearly twenty percent. The number of Palestinians allowed to leave Gaza through Israel is up thirty percent. At the same time, Egypt’s closure of Gaza’s smuggling tunnels have left thousands unemployed, made food, electronics and other goods scarce and unaffordable, and left the territory dry of much-needed fuel. The government responsible for the people of Gaza has responded not by trying to alleviate their suffering, but is instead squabbling with its enemy political faction. It is the ultimate absurdity of refugee politics: Hamas has essentially taken itself hostage and imposed sanctions on its own people.

The global outrage industry, we can be confident, will ignore this. Just last week, the United Nations General Assembly passed nine different resolutions condemning Israel for, among other things, its treatment of the Palestinians. No resolution concerning any other world issue was adopted during the meeting. (See the disapproving reaction of a UN interpreter here). If the world were truly concerned with the ongoing human tragedy of the Palestinian people, Arab discrimination and poor policy choices by the Palestinian faction leaders would be called out, mocked, and scorned.

[Image of Hamas flag courtesy of Wikimedia]

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  • wigwag

    Dear Professor Mead:

    Yes, Hamas is disgusting. But what are we to make of American supporters of Palestinian purveyors of hate?

    One of those supporters is your employer, Bard University.

    I don’t know whether you’ve heard the story, but surely you know that Bard made the decision a few years ago to affiliate itself with Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. Perhaps Bard has even sent you to Al-Quds to lecture. Bard isn’t the only American university to partner with Al-Quds, so has Brandeis.

    The problem is that despite it’s reputation as a “moderate” institution, Al-Quds is anything but and its president, Sari Nusseibeh, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Your own President, Leon Botstein, has been effusive in his praise of the Bard-Al-Quds partnership. After it was announced he said,

    “The liberal arts tradition does have a real connection to democratic politics.” He meant “democratic” with a small “d” but the “d” could have been capitalized. After all, the major financial supporter of the Bard-Al-Quds partnership is prominent Democrat and hater of Israel, George Soros.

    Unless I’m mistaken, the Bard-Al Quds program just graduated its first students at a ceremony this past fall. President Botstein was there to shake the hand of each graduate.

    As it happens, just a few days ago, a large demonstration took place at the Al-Quds campus in Jerusalem. It featured hundreds of students, some affiliated with Islamic Jihad and Hamas and some not, giving a fascist style salute, shouting “death to America, death to Israel” and swearing allegiance to the idea that Jews don’t belong in the Middle East.

    I don’t know whether you or your colleagues at Bard have seen any of the pictures of the demonstration. In case you haven’t, you can find them here,

    While they were foolish to affiliate with Al-Quds in the first place, Brandeis has at least had the good sense to withdraw its faculty and declare a moratorium to the partnership. Bard on the other hand has done nothing. Leon Botstein has been as quiet as a church mouse; if anyone at Bard is disturbed by the whole matter, no one would know it because the institution has been silent.
    I wonder whether you’ve thought of writing a blog post on the subject. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the Bard-Al Quds partnership.



  • AD_Rtr_OS

    Why am I reminded of the Council of Damascus in the movie “Lawrence of Arabia”, and how it broke down into petty bickering over ancient slights while the city suffered.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The Palestinians deserve their fate, for their support of Hamas. Let them suffer, otherwise they will never learn.

  • Bruce

    One of the faults of VM is that Dr. Mead and the interns seem to be of a mind that many of the bad things that happen in the world are the result of “incompetence” or “unintended consequences.” This is not incompetence by Hamas – it is evil. You diminish the lack of humanity displayed by these animals when you misclassify it as incompetence.

  • cubanbob

    If Hamas were to treat the Palestinians as badly as the Israelis do it would be an improvement for the Palestinians.

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