Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Johnston's captors: the Dagmoush clan

This article from Der Spiegel is the fullest description of the Dagmoush clan of Gaza, who hold BBC correspondant Alan Johnston, which I've seen in the public press. The NCF's own private circulars have given very good detail on the different players within this crime family, the activities of their various internal factions and the relations of these to other groups within the strip. This article, though unfortunately short on specifics about the family's different internal players, is nonetheless worth reading, especially as it prefigures the coming Hamas offensive.
I would also say that it is worth keeping in mind that the current strength of clan structures within Gazan society is not inherent to Palestinian culture. It is rather a phenomenon rooted in the effects of forty years of occupation and the attendant impoverishment and breakdown of legitimate public social structures that have strengthened such affiliations. In the context of traditional village and urban Palestinian life they would have been of quite minor significance.
--posted by Nick Alexandra

It's an open secret in Gaza City that the Dagmoush clan -- called the "Sopranos of Gaza City," an allusion to the US television series -- is holding Johnston. Still, everyone who has something to say about the kidnapping prefers to remain anonymous: The clan's influence is too great for anyone to want to provoke its anger. Still a surprisingly detailed picture emerges from conversations with various sources. What results is the panorama of a strip of land fought over by rival clans -- the setting for dramas whose ruthlessness and brutality remind one of the Montague and Capulet families in Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet."
To read article in full click here

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