Even when things couldn’t get worse in Gaza, some Palestinian business owners and merchants decide to increase prices dramatically higher in order to profit from this war. The Hamas police force has stopped many merchants after complaints from customers. The reality is, there are bad Muslims. Very bad Muslims who even at times of war try to take from their brothers and sisters when they are in need.
Full article below:
Battered Hamas police struggle to keep order amid chaos
By AHMED AL BURAI in Gaza City, and MUHAMMED AL JAMAL in Rafah
GAZA CITY police have redeployed in force as Hamas works to maintain law and order in the Gaza Strip amid the prolonged Israeli air assault.
But many of the officers on patrol are now wearing civilian clothing and carrying sticks rather than guns to avoid being targeted by Israeli warplanes.
“We are trying to cope with the situation,” said one officer Abu Ahmed (47). “It’s not easy to work under the current situation but we have no other option but to keep working.”
In addition to maintaining the peace among an increasingly desperate, heavily armed population, police are arresting merchants suspected of profiteering – all the while keeping a vigilant eye on the skies.
“We are used to this, we have to keep our peoples’ lives safe,” said officer Mojammed Abo Hwaishel. And besides, he adds, “The streets are safer than the buildings nowadays.”
Nearly half the Palestinians killed since the Israeli attacks began on Saturday have been police, according to spokesman Islam Shahwan, who says most of the 180 dead officers were killed in the initial strike. “All of our security compounds in the Gaza Strip were destroyed or seriously damaged,” he adds.
In all, Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since mid-2007, has an estimated 20,000-strong security force composed of the standard police force, Protection and Security, a force similar to the Secret Service, and Internal Security, an intelligence and interrogation squad with a rising reputation for brutality.
Many security force members also moonlight as part of the Izzedine Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing. The actual casualty figures haven’t made a huge dent in Hamas’s forces. But the Israeli attack has disrupted communications, gutted most security facilities and left leading officials of the senior command structure dead.
Now the police are back in force with a mandate to prevent looting and crack down on profiteering. In the western Gaza city of Rafah, a young man selling kerosene was approached by three police officers, who demanded he lower his price from five Israeli shekels (about €1) down to four. He refused, so the officer called in reinforcements and the merchant backed down, according to residents who witnessed the incident.
Elsewhere in Rafah, residents complained that a flour merchant was boosting his prices above the official ceiling. Several police arrived at his store in civilian garb. They warned the merchant he risked confiscation of his flour if the complaints persisted.
One of the most immediate tests to police authority came Monday when a blood feud erupted between two heavily armed families in Rafah. After two members of the same clan were murdered in a dispute, the victims’ family set fire to several homes belonging to the alleged killers’ clan.
Police intervened en masse, established order and brought in neighbourhood elders, known locally as mukhtars, to host a reconciliation session and negotiate compensation. – (Los Angeles Times-Washington Post service)
Source: Irish Times