LIFE in the Gaza Strip is unbearable for most of the two million Palestinians who live there. For once, they are not blaming Israel for their plight, no matter how many times the mainstream media does.
Hamas, the brutal Islamist rulers of Gaza, have yet again imposed new taxes on its starving people, despite not providing basic utilities such as clean water and electricity.
After Israel’s disastrous decision to withdraw from Gaza in 2005, Hamas came to power a year later. Supported by Iran, its leaders have no interest in governing Gaza, using it only as a place to wage their endless jihadist war against Israel.
Ordinary Palestinians are often caught in the crossfire of this war, and in the clashes between Hamas and their rivals, such as Isis and Fatah. Hamas also gives succour to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), another Iranian-backed terror group, which was responsible for the recent rocket attacks against Israel.
Gazans have had enough of the suffering wrought upon them by their Islamist rulers. They watch Hamas grow rich on taxes while they go hungry. Many young people in Gaza despair over being jobless or homeless to the point that they are now committing suicide, some by self-immolation. The 2017 protest campaign ‘We Want To Live’, brutally quashed by Hamas, is being resurrected by Gazans, again risking their lives to beg for the most important human right there is. They are desperate for life and tired of dying for jihad.
Protesting against Israel is now less important to Gazans than the endemic corruption and relentless conspicuous consumption of their leaders.
But Hamas doesn’t care. Instead of ensuring Gazans have clean water and electricity, it builds missiles with which to attack Israel and now has more than 15,000 rockets.
Thanks to billions of pounds in foreign aid pumped into the Islamist enclave, Hamas leaders are millionaires, living an opulent lifestyle in Turkey and Qatar while their people in Gaza struggle. Much of their wealth comes from the anti-Semitic United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), funded heavily by the US and UK.
UNWRA lets Hamas and PIJ use children as human shields in their Gazan schools. All three organisations run summer camps in Gaza where children are indoctrinated into hating Israel and glorying jihadists, as well as undergoing military training.
Only the wilfully blind can ignore Hamas’s siphoning off of foreign aid to fund its war against the Jewish state, and finance the luxury habits of its leaders.
Anguished Palestinians can’t even vote Hamas out, because elections are barred in Gaza. Their counterparts in Israel are far freer. Israelis can’t seem to stop the habit of voting, with the country going to the polls in November for the fifth time in less than four years.
Despite its wrong turn on Covid-19, Israel is still the only democracy in the Middle East. The tiny country is home to eight million citizens; 80 per cent are Jews, and the rest Sunni Muslims, Christians and Druze.
All citizens of Israel have equal rights under the law, regardless of their religion, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual preferences. Muslims, as well as Jews, can be elected to serve in the Knesset, with Arab parties often playing kingmaker. Israel is also one the few places in the Middle East where Arab women are enfranchised.
In Israel, politicians suspected of corruption are tried in court. In Gaza, journalists are imprisoned for exposing corruption in Hamas, with many fearing torture if they criticise the regime there.
Political opponents are often tortured and persecuted by Hamas. But in Israel they get promoted. Two years ago, Israel appointed its first Bedouin ambassador, despite his antics against his own country.
Christians and Muslims all play an active role in Israel’s institutions, with the first Muslim appointed to Israel’s Supreme Court in May. But Christians living in Gaza are subject to extreme persecution.
A third have fled their Islamist oppressors, some for the sanctuary of Israel, where the law protects religious freedom, and where the mainly Arab Christian population thrives. The only win Gazans have against their fellow Palestinians in Israel is not having the Covid-19 vaccine foisted on them.
Many Gazans have been indoctrinated from birth to hate Jews and Israel, and are only waking up now to the reality that their plight is caused by Hamas. As Westerners have shown these past two and half years, immunity from brainwashing is difficult to secure.