Crazy Water Park was regarded as the most popular resort in the Gaza
Strip. But in August, amid complaints by Muslim clerics of mixing of the
sexes, Hamas began to crack down on the facility, used largely by
middle-income Palestinians as well as employees of non-governmental
"The gunmen handcuffed and blindfolded the two guards, who were inside
the park, and took them to the guards' room after confiscating the keys of
the park's buildings," the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said. "A
number of gunmen attacked the security guard by beating him, set fire to the
park's buildings and restaurants, including Al Badiya section, and then
"The two guards hurried up to one of the neighboring houses to break
their handcuffs, when a force of civil defense arrived and extinguished the
fire," the center said. "In addition, the Palestinian police arrived and
opened an investigation in the attack."
The Hamas crackdown began with raids of Crazy Water Park and the
eviction of patrons. The sources said the owner of the facility, Panda
Tourist Co., was warned not to allow the mixing of the sexes.
In September, Hamas intensified measures against the 10-dunam facility,
located southwest of Gaza City. On Sept. 5, Hamas, citing lack of official
licenses, ordered the shutdown of Crazy Water Park.
The Hamas crackdown, conducted by the General Investigations Bureau,
has extended to other entertainment facilities in the Gaza Strip. In
mid-September, the Islamic regime closed down a restaurant after a woman was
seen smoking from a water pipe. Hamas also shut down a horse club and
ordered a prominent hotel to suspend operations for three days.
"PCHR believes that such actions are illegal and they raise concerns
when the law enforcement bodies practice them or turn a blind eye to them,"
the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said.
Human rights groups said the arson was part of efforts by Hamas and its
supporters to impose Islamic law throughout the Gaza Strip. No group has
claimed responsibility for the arson, which was said to have destroyed Crazy Water
The United Nations has also been the target of the Hamas crackdown. In
May and June 2010, UN summer camps were attacked and vandalized by
unidentified gunmen believed linked to Hamas. No arrests have been reported.
The Hamas Interior Ministry said the arson of Crazy Water Park was being
investigated. The ministry did not elaborate.