That is how my friend Taghreed describes the situation in Gaza now. In other words, its protectors are its thieves.
Yesterday, new security deployments began-yet again-as part of the Unity government's new "security plan", which will in three separate stages see security re-enforcements comprised of both Hamas and Fateh members fan out across Gaza.
But the plan was not made public, and it was unclear to everyone-including the security forces themselves, what exactly was the purpose of the new deployment and whether it was truly a mixed police force.
As I was walking down the street yesterday, I stopped to chat with two policmen who had been deployed as part of the new plan. Before taking off, they asked me, almost whispering, "tell me, have you actually seen any Hamas members deployed? We heard rumors that they were supposed to be."
That evening, we had a sleepless night as Hamas members and newly deployed policeguards went at it; apparently, some in Fateh were not thrilled at the prospect of guarding the streets alongside their rivals. Some in Hamas, in turn, were not pleased that they were not yet offered this opportunity and deployed.
People in general have mixed feelings about the deployment. Some are holding out hope that it can resolve, or at least stabilize, the situation. Others consider it too little too late, and just like deployments before it, which never managed to truly secure the Strip.
I personally believe in the contined absence of a strong, central, and sovereign authority, and the dissolution of both the global and Israeli siege, Gaza can never be truly secure. The two go hand in hand.
To quote Alvaro De Soto, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process who just resigned today, "The only way to impose law and order in the territories and to bring about a cease-fire is by strengthening the Palestinian security mechanisms and creating conditions that will enable them to operate under a single command...[T]his is possible only under the Palestinian unity government. I find it hard to understand how polarization in Palestinian society, sabotaging the unity government and attempting to prevent it from fulfilling its responsibility serves Israel's interests."
Two members of the newly deployed security force patrol a street in Gaza City.