Police in Gaza have an unusual new way of targeting youth: They're reportedly picking up young men with long or gelled hair and shaving their heads. Youths are hustled into Jeeps and mocked in the meantime, two victims tell the AP; beatings have been reported. Young people are also targeted for low-waisted pants as Hamas pushes fundamentalist views on the region. "They just take you from the street without reason," says one 19-year-old victim, Ayman al-Sayed, who had shoulder-length hair before it was shaved.
The head-shaving started last week; at least two dozen people were nabbed in multiple sweeps, victims say. At a police station, a cop shaved two lines on victims' heads and said they could get a barber to do the rest, says al-Sayed, noting that victims suffered beatings if they tried to stop the shaving. Gaza's deputy PM called the shaving "a very limited, isolated behavior of the police" that "is not going to continue." Now, some youths are fighting back: An 18-year-old, for example, has begun using gel after his friends were victimized. "I have nothing to lose except my hair," he says.