The Rough Guide to Gaza City


We aren't allowed to smoke in bars, to puff on those disgusting clove cigarettes, to call them "lights" or "mediums" or "mild," nor can we advertise them anywhere, lest kids want to emulate a tuxedo-wearing camel. No one really noticed when it all changed, except the endless flood of people who thanked the government because their "clothes no longer smell like smoke" when returning from a bar (Non-government solution: Wash your clothes before wearing them again). Now, it would be unfair to compare the fun-destroying Bloombergians with Hamas—I wouldn't dare—but, seeing the success of smoking bans across the United States and Europe, the coup-mongers in Gaza City have cracked down on the smoking of shisha in public. From The New York Times:

A spokesman for the Hamas police, Ayman al-Batniji, said that the ban applied only to women and that it was in line with "the Palestinian  people's customs and traditions." But many cafe owners said they had been ordered to ban water pipes for both men and women.

Smoking large water pipes called shisha, usually with bowls of flavored tobacco, is a longstanding pastime here.

Plainclothes members of the Hamas security services have been inspecting cafes along the Gaza City beachfront, including men-only establishments like Al Shera Café, where men go to drink coffee, tea and soft drinks while playing cards.

Want to have fun in Gaza City? Try to find the small, terrified union of Palestinian vintners, who make horrible wine away from the prying eyes of the morality police. If you are a Hamas volunteer, pulling guard duty, you can always eat ecstasy.


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  1. Where would you rather live…

    1. Gaza county is sounding better than Gaza City every day.

  2. the ban applied only to women and that it was in line with “the Palestinian people’s customs and traditions.”

    Words fail.

    1. Buildings tumble. The ground opens wide.

  3. But despite all the risks and the fears, no one has any intention of giving up their dangerous hobby.
    “I know that I live in a traditionalist society, but I consider that drinking alcohol is a matter of individual liberty,” Abu Mohammed says.

    Poor bastards.

    1. “This is silly,” fumed Haya Ahmed, a 29-year-old accountant who said she has smoked water pipes for 10 years. “We are not smoking in the streets but in restaurants where only a few people can enter.”

      She predicted the ban would have the opposite effect of its intention and make water pipes more tempting for rebellious young women. “Everything forbidden becomes desirable. The decision will lead to more smokers,” Ahmed said.

      Bingo, Haya. She and Abu sound like they would make some damn fine Americans.

      1. Thank god they’re not Mexicans.

        1. Still doesn’t help their chances of getting in.

  4. Gaza city beachfront? Need pictures to verify preconceived notions.

    1. Yup, Reason missed the interesting part of the story–that there is a Gaza beachfront with cafes. An odd sight for an area variously described as “oppressed” and “concentration camp-like”.

      Tom Gross has all the details on the relatively luxurious parts of Gaza. Interesting fact: Gaza has better life expectancy, infant mortality rates, and literacy rates than Turkey (and both have a far better standard of living than pretty much all of Africa).

      1. The mice in my walls have a better standard of living than most of Africa.

        Germany had some of the best skiing in 1940.

        My forehead can’t take much more.

        1. Suck that Godwin!!

        2. My forehead can’t take much more.

          Worry not, dear facepalmer, for your forehead-denting problems will soon be a thing of the past! I’m developing a facepalm cushion, to prevent those unsightly dents and those embarassing occasions where you facepalm yourself out of your chair.

          (it’s really just a souped up “we’re #1” foam hand, but still, you know you want one.)

          1. What is the price limit under the new healthcare bill?

            1. Who cares? I get one free. This is a preexisting condition.

          2. My wife ducktaped an oven mitt to my hand. It makes watching John Stagliano films difficult.

            1. On the upside, you’re never left searching for a towel or a shirt to pull a pan out of the oven.

              1. Is “pull a pan out of the oven” a euphemism?

                1. Sadly, no. I was referring to the boring, intended, use of oven mitts.

          3. Face palming will be banned soon anyway because children might emulate it and get hurt. I think its also a secret way to show racist reactions to things you disagree with.

            1. The Three Stooges were Racist.

      2. This past weekend, Gaza hand a grand opening for a new mall.

  5. “It is inappropriate for a woman to sit cross-legged and smoke in public. It harms the image of our people,”

    Yeah, those slutty, cross-legged, smokin’ women are the root of your whole PR problem.

    1. Hey, if the majority wants it, who are these selfish bitches to complain?

      1. “Get back in the kitchen and make me a shwarma, bitch!”

  6. The folks at Israel National News also reported on it.

    From their article: Hamas police have begun enforcing religious law, and the group has brought back the death penalty for crimes such as adultery, drug use, murder, and cooperation with Israel.

    Giving the death penalty for drug use is odd, considering that protecting the user’s health is the normal excuse for passing drug bans in the first place.

    1. They’d do it here too if they could get away with it.

      1. Maobama gets away with everything here. As soon as he reads your idea, we are doomed.

    2. They’re protecting the health of all the people who will be too scared of getting their head chopped off to try drugs.

  7. Now, it would be unfair to compare the fun-destroying Bloombergians with Hamas[…]

    Why bother with fairness? Is it apt to compare them? I say: YES. BOTH are freedom-impeding busybodies.

  8. This all even more amusing when you realize that smoking shisha is still perfectly fucking legal in NYC business establishments.

    1. And Gazans (Gazanians? Gonzos?) don’t pay 90% taxes when they buy cigarettes. It’s a crazy mixed up world.

  9. I’m sayin….shouldn’t we be concerned about our policies when fucked up 3rd world states start emulating us?

    “Oh, look, Kim Il just started no-knock raids to search for hoarded vegetables. What a good idea…wait, what?”

    (and yes, the shoot your dog, but at least they eat it after the raid *bu-dum-bump*)

  10. I don’t like to go this far off topic, but it appears that ABC (and Drudge) is showing interest in police wiretap prosecutions.

  11. At least, Gaza men have more freedom than their counterparts in San Francisco.

    1. Well, it’s illegal for men to go shirtless in Gaza, and I have a feeling the annual Gaza Gay Pride Parade is still in the planning phase. But on the bright side, they can smoke and get soda from vending machines.

  12. No one really noticed when it all changed,

    Yeah we did.

  13. I hear its actually a very cool place to visit

  14. A Moynihan thread about Gaza, and MNG is nowhere to be found. You guys must have really given him a drubbing on Obama’s health care tax this morning.

    1. That’s only a tax in court.

  15. This place is fairly awesome. The first time I tried it, I didn’t think it was doing anything…until I stood up.

    Oh, and fuck Hamas, and Bloomberg, and statist nannies.

  16. “But many cafe owners said they had been ordered to ban water pipes for both men and women”

    — Well, since indoor plumbing isn’t mentioned in the koran so I guess that this is ok. I’m not sure that there is enough infrastructure left in Gaza for running water anyway.


  17. Yeah, MNG, Fluffy, and Joe never bothered to show up for this post. I see that they don’t give 2 cents about Gazans and are only obsessed with Israel.

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