Thursday, August 28, 2008

Palestinian fashion statement

from the Jerusalem Post: Fight between Hamas-Fatah spreads to upper lips in mustache war by

Hamas has resumed its policy of shaving mustaches of political opponents to humiliate them, Fatah officials said Wednesday. Hamas resorted to this form of punishment in the past after arresting senior Fatah representatives in the Gaza Strip, the officials said. Hamas, for its part, accused the Palestinian Authority security forces of shaving the beards of detained Hamas officials in the West Bank.

The latest victim of the mustache-shaving policy is Nafez al-Namnam, a top Fatah operative in the Strip. Namnam, 51, is one of the commanders of Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, in Gaza City. He and his son Rami were arrested by Hamas policemen shortly after the mysterious explosion that killed five Hamas men on the beach in Gaza City last Friday. The father and son were among more than 150 Fatah members who were rounded up by Hamas in the aftermath of the bombing. Namnam wore an unusually large mustache for more than 30 years. But while in prison, his Hamas interrogators shaved it off before finally releasing him. The Aksa Martyrs Brigades issued a statement strongly condemning the shaving of Namnam's mustache and threatening retaliation. It said that Namnam and his son were also tortured while in detention.

Earlier this year, another senior Fatah official, Ibrahim Abu al-Naja, also lost his mustache in the power struggle with Hamas. Fatah officials held Hamas responsible, saying the act was designed to humiliate Abu al-Naja, who is one of the most senior leaders of Fatah in the Gaza Strip. Hamas, however, said Abu al-Naja's kidnappers were former Fatah security officers who were angry because the PA had not paid them their salaries. Abu al-Naja had worn a mustache for nearly 35 years.

(seen in The Forward's Bintel Blog)

Palestinian Ibrahim Abu al-Naja, a member of Fatah's executive committee for political operations, talks to jounalists about his arrest by Hamas after being released at his home in Gaza City on August 2, 2008. Naja, a high ranking member of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas' Fatah movement, was among a number of Fatah members rounded up by Hamas security forces in the wake of the July 25 beach bombing that the Islamist movement blamed on their secular rivals. Three Palestinians were killed and dozens hurt in running street battles today between militants of the rival Islamist Hamas and Fatah movements in Gaza City, prompting Israel to sound an alert. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.
Abu al-Naja pre-shave

Palestinian Fatah supporters have their hair and moustaches shaved in solidarity with the head of the Fatah high committee, Ibrahim Abu al-Naja, who was arrested two days ago by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, 02 January 2008 in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Abu al-Naja was released several hours later, but his moustache was shaved off in an apparent attempt to humiliate him, his son said. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.
Fatah supporters' Ramallah shave-in

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