Amira Hass reports in Ha’aretz about a Gaza restaurant that has played host to mixed-gender parties, including (gasp!) mixed dancing, and Hamas is none too pleased about it. Except that some Hamas activists are reportedly getting in on the action on the sly.
Some fear that as the Islamist Hamas regime gains more control, greater numbers of social restrictions will be imposed.
They point to the fact that on November 14, a wedding party in the village of Khuza’a east of Khan Younis was forcibly broken up. Only men participated and the family is known to be affiliated with Hamas, but there had been singing at the wedding party.
A group of armed and masked men broke into the place and overturned tables, setting one on fire.
Khan Younis residents believe the perpetrators may have been members of one of the small ultra-religious groups that took advantage of the tense security situation and siege conditions to frighten people and to force extreme religious prohibitions and restrictions on them.
The more suspicious and the conspiracy theorists say that it is possible that these tiny groups are emissaries of the someone in the government. Hamas officials promise that they will not intervene in people’s social lives. Indeed, there are restaurants and coffee shops in Gaza city in which there is mixed seating with no interference.
The number of such cafes has grown in the past two years and are frequented by well known members of Hamas.