A Year Reshapes Hamas and Gaza

[New York Times] Ethan Bronner - The notion of Gaza as an enduringly separate entity is solidifying, making it less likely that Palestinians might agree even among themselves on peace with Israel. "What happened in Gaza a year ago was not really a coup," said an Arabic-speaking Israeli security official. "Hamas' takeover was a kind of natural process. Hamas was so strong, so deeply rooted in Palestinian society through its activities in the economy, education, culture and health care, and Fatah was so weak, so corrupt, that the takeover was like wind blowing over a moth-infested structure." "Hamas is strong and brutal but very good at governing," observed Eyad Serraj, a British-trained psychiatrist in Gaza. "They have gotten people to pay for car registration. They are getting people to pay their electricity bills after years of everyone refusing to. The city and the hospitals are cleaner than in many years." Jawad Tibi, a health minister under the Fatah government, said, "Hamas is talking about a 30-year truce which is no different really from what we want. Hamas is Fatah with beards."

2008-06-16 01:00:00

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