by Leo Rennert
The Washington Post, in its April 19 edition, features a front-page article on Hamas's miserable rule of Gaza, pointing to failure to deliver basic services, repression of dissidents, corruption among the Hamas elite, which lead a cushy life while most Gazans struggle with power blackouts and shortages of other basic needs ("In besieged Gaza, residents say Hamas hasn't delivered - For many, Islamist rulers turn out to be a lot like regular politicians" by Karin Brulliard).
It's not a perfect piece - the sub-head refers to "Islamist rulers" (another euphemism for "terrorist"). The lead paragraph points to vast destruction of a neighborhood "in an Israeli military assault three years ago" without mentioning the constant rocket barrages against Israel that prompted the IDF operation. The second paragraph zeroes in on "Israeli airstrikes pounding the Gaza Strip last month" again without mentioning the rain of Gaza rockets on civilian targets in southern Israel.
But once Brulliard gets going, Hamas and all its warts become her main focus. She notes that Hamas came to power in a Palestinian election in 2006 "with a reputation for terrorist tactics against Israel" (finally, the "T" word to properly identify Palestinian terrorism).
She points out that Hamas's charter dedicates the group to Israel's "ruin." Unemployment is at 30 percent. Hamas hasn't delivered on its pledge of justice and fairness. Graft is rampant under Hamas "corruption and patronage." The Hamas elite has enriched itself. Gas station lines snake around corners. Dissent is "squashed." Political opponents face arrests. People are fearful under a "police state" while the Hamas prime minister visits Iran.
Brulliard ends her report with a devastating comment from an unemployed former shopkeeper, Abu Khaled - "We used to take taxis, now we walk. We were eating, now we are not. Things changed - but for the worse. Hamas is controlling us. They are responsible for us."
An impressive and comprehensive indictment of Hamas - a rarity in the Washington Post. Kudos to Brulliard, who's new on the beat.
Now if Brulliard would only train her investigative talents on how Mahmoud Abbas reigns in the West Bank, Post readers might finally get a full picture of both sides of the Palestinian coin.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers
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