Israel news photo: MFA.gov.il
Hamas police beat and forcibly removed residents from their homes in a southern Gaza city, and the buildings were then demolished by bulldozers.
The Associated Press reports that the Hamas police wielded clubs and pushed the residents out of dozens of homes in Rafah, on the Egyptian border. The incident occurred on Sunday, and destruction was expected to continue on Monday. Hamas authorities said the homes were built illegally on government land.
Newly homeless residents were reportedly furious over Arabs on bulldozers razing Arab homes.
"For years," AP's Rizek Abdel Jawad reports, "Palestinians have criticized Israel for destroying houses, mostly because they were built without permits issued by the military. Now, Rafah residents complained, their own government, run by the Islamic militant Hamas that seized power in Gaza in July 2007, has done the same."
One woman shouted that Hamas had promised reform and change, but had "destroyed our homes" instead. Standing next to the concrete chunks that remained of her house, she said she and her husband had nowhere else to go.
Her neighbor said policewomen wearing Muslim face veils beat her with clubs until she, her husband, and two children fled their house.
Residents said between 30 and 40 homes, ranging from concrete structures to tin shacks, were torn down. Hamas officials did not allow reporters into the area until the demolition was over. Residents said more demolitions in the area were expected on Monday.
Hamas Knows Nothing About Alternative Housing
AP added that though Rafah's mayor, Issa Nashar, promised alternative housing, Gaza's housing minister, Yousef al-Mansi, said he had no information about such housing.