Speechless in Gaza
Normally there is a certain amount of stealth involved in murder. The killers lie in wait in dark corners. The deed is done in the minimum time. In the case of a political assassination the triggermen often attempt a getaway, the better to protect the identity of their masters. But in the case of Moussa Arafat, former head of the Palestinian Liberation Authority's Gaza security operation, no effort was spared to make his death as brutal, public and pointed as possible. According to the New York Times:
Dozens of masked gunmen dragged a former Gaza security chief from his home early on Wednesday and killed him in the street ... gunmen, armed with rifles and anti-tank grenades, battled Mr. Arafat's guards for 30 minutes ... before storming the house and dragging him outside, where they shot him dead.
The manner of Mr. Arafat's death suggests his assailants didn't care who knew they were coming for him and were confident that the Palestinian authorities, in whom such touching confidence is reposed, would never intervene in time, if they had any intention of coming at all. Nor were they mistaken. After assaulting Arafat's home by main force they dragged him into the street for disposal -- probably to make a point. How many murders happen like that?
Not many. Unless you count gangland hits. Although the Times reports that "the police told news agencies that they were investigating a report that Mr. Arafat's son, Manhal, 29, considered a close aide, had been kidnapped in the raid" one gets the feeling that the dividing line between "militants" and security authorities of the Palestinian Authority -- the very same ones the International Community relies on to break the "cycle of violence" -- and criminals is a thin one indeed.
I've learned via private email that this incident is the latest in a Series
of Unfortunate Events. Hamas deployed significant forces to Gaza, together with
attached media elements under their control to harry the withdrawal of Jews from
Dekalim settlement, once "the largest Jewish settlement in Gaza".
This was followed up by a rocket attack from the northern Gaza strip at Israeli
settlements within range. Reuters
reported on September 6, "two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip slammed
into southern Israel on Tuesday, after Israel killed a Palestinian cutting his
way into a demolished Jewish settlement in Gaza ...". This was the day
after an incident
on the West Bank where "14 houses belonging to residents of the Arab Christian town of Taiba northeast of Ramallah, were torched by Muslims from neighboring Deir Jarir on Sunday, to avenge what they termed the dishonor of a Muslim woman."
There will be those who may take the view that these incidents are unavoidable bumps on the road to the eventual liberation of Arabs from the Israeli yoke, a road signposted by the UN-funded banners which read "Gaza Today. The West Bank and Jerusalem Tomorrow". The question of course, is what if they are not regrettable incidents, but events which characterize the new regime in Gaza? Many of those who rejoiced at Ernst Rohm's demise in the Night of the Long Knives comforted themselves by believing it was a case of one set of hoodlums rubbing out the other. It was true; but it was also irrelevant.