What’s the real deal here?


Could it be? Is this actually a voice of reason – a litany of hard truth – a call for self-examination… coming from Hamas?

“When you walk in the streets of Gaza City, you cannot but close your eyes because of what you see there: unimaginable chaos, careless policemen, young men carrying guns and strutting with pride and families receiving condolences for their dead in the middle of the street.”

This is how Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority government and a former newspaper editor, described the situation in the Gaza Strip in an article he published on Sunday on some Palestinian news Web sites.

The article, the first of its kind by a senior Hamas official, also questioned the effectiveness of the Kassam rocket attacks and noted that since Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip, the situation there has deteriorated on all levels. It holds the armed groups responsible for the crisis and calls on them to reconsider their tactics and to stop blaming Israel for their mistakes.

“Gaza is suffering under the yoke of anarchy and the swords of thugs,” Hamad wrote. “I remember the day when Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip and closed the gates behind. Then, Palestinians across the political spectrum took to the streets to celebrate what many of us regarded as the Israeli defeat or retreat. We heard a lot about a promising future in the Gaza Strip and about turning the area into a trade and industrial zone.”

Hamad said the “culture of life” that prevailed in the Strip has since been replaced with a nightmare. “Life became a nightmare and an intolerable burden,” he said. “Today I ask myself a daring and frightening question: ‘Why did the occupation return to Gaza?’ The normal reply: ‘The occupation is the reason.'”

Dismissing Israel’s responsibility for the growing state of anarchy and lawlessness in the Gaza Strip, Hamad said it was time for the Palestinians to embark on a soul-searching process to see where they erred.

“We’re always afraid to talk about our mistakes,” he added. “We’re used to blaming our mistakes on others. What is the relationship between the chaos, anarchy, lawlessness, indiscriminate murders, theft of land, family rivalries, transgression on public lands and unorganized traffic and the occupation? We are still trapped by the mentality of conspiracy theories – one that has limited our capability to think.”

Unusually frank words from any Palestinian official. But considering the source, this is pretty astounding stuff.

Some are taking this at face value, calling it a “flying pigs moment”.

But I’m a natural born cynic, and when something seems suspicious, it’s usually because it is. Frankly, I’m not sure what to make of this. I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Something tells me that this is going to turn out to be a part of a new powerplay game between Hamas and Fatah, and that, as many suspect, Hamas is looking to throw a monkey wrench into the U.S.’s policy of backing Fatah by confounding Bush’s view that Fatah are the guys in the white hats and Hamas are the guys in the black hats.

If, however, Hamad was really being candid here, I hope for his sake that he has a lot of bodyguards.

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