muslim women gaza beach hamasThree cheers for Israel giving up the Gaza Strip to Palestinian autonomy! Now the Gazans are so much better off, as we can see from the attempts by Hamas to impose strict Islamic or sharia law on these benighted people.

I’m no Israel-cheerleader, especially as concerns its ancient history, as well as its modern founding. However, as one commenter on my Freethought Examiner column remarked, on its face Israel presents a far better picture than its neighbors:

“There is ONE democracy in the middle east. One tiny sliver of land – the only one that actually protects Muslim women from the atrocities committed against her in the name of her faith; a tiny place that produces untold intellectual properties, has turned a dessert into a blossom while her neighboring country, Syria, has destroyed its water infrastructure; one place that has drawn the line in the sand between democracy and brutality in a tumultuous time; one country that waited 8 YEARS and endured 12,000 rocket attacks before going after the terrorists when any other nation would have said enough within weeks: one country whose doctors give medical care to terrorists side by side with their victims; one country that has given land back for peace, only to be proven wrong by her enemies; and that little land is ISRAEL.”

Compare this description to life in Hamas-ruled Gaza today.

Hamas Bans Women Dancers, Scooter Riders in Gaza Push

Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) — The Islamic Hamas movement banned girls last month from riding behind men on motor scooters and forbade women from dancing at the opening of a folk museum. Girls in some public schools must wear headscarves and cloaks.

Signs of Hamas’s creeping Islamization are everywhere in Gaza, the Mediterranean coastal enclave that Hamas has run by itself since 2007. Gaza is already politically divided from the West Bank, the Palestinian territory administered by the secular Fatah movement….

Some of the efforts are meeting resistance. When Supreme Court Justice Abdel Raouf Al-Halabi ordered women lawyers on July 26 to wear headscarves and caftans in court, attorneys contacted satellite television stations including Al-Arabiya to protest. On Sept. 6, Hamas’s Justice Ministry rescinded the directive.

Hamas officials say they have no plans to impose Islamic law. “What you are seeing are incidents, not policy,” said Younis al-Astal, a Hamas legislator. “We want Islamic law to be the standard, but we believe in persuasion.”…

The opening of the Palestinian Heritage Museum on Oct.7 was meant to include a rendition of the dabke, a line dance performed by girls and boys. Except that no girls were allowed.

Black-shirted men from Hamas carrying AK-47s appeared at the gates of the museum, on Gaza’s waterfront, said Jamal Salem, the curator. They said girls shouldn’t dance because it wasn’t religiously proper. Nor could they share the stage for the inaugural speeches, said Salem.

“They are trying to take Palestinian culture and make it all their own,” Salem said. “They say our traditions are against the law. Their law.”

In August, headmasters of several schools ordered girls to don white head scarves and black cloaks called jilbabs. They sent several girls in jeans home, according to Gaza press reports. The Education Ministry later said the orders were unauthorized acts of individual school officials….

“Hamas backs off when it looks like they are governing under Islamic law and people complain,” she said.

Israel, the U.S. and the EU say Hamas is a terrorist organization.

Swimming in Pants

In June, black-clad constables approached journalist Asmaa al-Ghoul, 27, and friends on a north Gaza beach, al-Ghoul said. Her offense: swimming in trousers and a blouse, not robes.

Male companions, including her brother, tried to defend her. Al-Ghoul said she phoned the government spokesman, who called off the police….