A decade after the Islamist group Hamas seized Gaza, the Palestinian enclave is effectively unliveable for its 2 million people, with declining incomes, healthcare, education, electricity and fresh water, the United Nations said.
In a report examining humanitarian conditions in the territory, which Hamas took over in June 2007 after a brief conflict with forces loyal to the Palestinian Authority, the United Nations concludes the situation in Gaza is deteriorating “further and faster” than was forecast only a few years ago.
“Across the board we’re watching de-development in slow motion,” Robert Piper, the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.
The Gaza Strip has been a flashpoint between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs for many years — but especially since 2005, when Israel unilaterally withdrew its military and civilians from the territory it had conquered in the Six-Day War. The Israeli withdrawal — calculated at once to divest Israel of the headache of ruling a tinderbox and as an earnest gesture of goodwill — actually proved a fillip for Hamas, the radical Islamic movement that is committed in its charter to destroy Israel, and murder the country’s Jews.
As a history lesson, it’s important to know that since its founding in 1988, Hamas has been a challenger to Fatah — a party founded by Yasser Arafat, and the dominant power within the Palestinian Authority.
Israel will cut back electricity supply for Gaza after the Palestinian president said he would no longer pay the energy bill, worsening an energy crisis in the isolated enclave where many people are already without power for 20 hours a day.
Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), announced in April that his semi-government in the occupied West Bank would not pay the bill for electricity in Gaza, which is run by his rivals in the Islamist militant group Hamas.
The Israeli cabinet decided Sunday that it would accept Mr Abbas’s decision and begin scaling back electricity supply, despite the humanitarian impact on Gazans and concerns that the cuts might increase the likelihood of another war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
An excerpt from an upcoming documentary on the relationship between the Hamas terrorist organization and UNRWA shows Gazan children being led into a mock terror tunnel, where they are taught how to attack an Israeli kibbutz.
Hamas operatives burst into the Associated Press (AP) Gaza bureau during the 2014 war with Israel, angered by a picture shot by an AP photographer. Gunmen threatened the AP staff, which never reported the incident.
The incident shows that Hamas can control what journalists report, and what they don’t, former AP Middle East reporter Matti Friedman says in a new documentary, “Eyeless in Gaza.”
BBC Arabic recently broadcast a TV report on restaurants in Gaza, in which it showed “an aspect of luxury, vibrancy, and riches” to life in Gaza. Restaurant owners and patrons talked to the reporter about eating out, describing the menus and the prices. A group of women sitting at a restaurant said that they would often come for “a coffee and a chat,” and that dinner would come to 250-300 dollars.
The Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas has once again demonstrated its priorities: killing Jews. That clearly takes precedence over easing the plight of the two million Palestinians living under its rule in the Gaza Strip.
Since Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, the conditions of the Palestinians living there have gone from bad to worse. Crisis after crisis has hit those under the Hamas rule; electricity and water as well as lack of medicine and proper medical care are in dangerously short supply.
Disputes between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have left the Gaza Strip dangerously short of fuel, resulting in massive power outages. Palestinians there consequently have had to resort to using wood for cooking and heating. Hamas, which has brought about three wars that wreaked havoc on its people, is unable to provide them with basic needs.
Last week, Hamas received an offer that no sane entity would turn down. It is to be noted that the offer did not come from Hamas’s friends and allies in Iran and the Arab and Islamic world. Rather, the offer, which promises to turn the Gaza Strip, where most residents live in the poverty of “refugee camps,” into “the Singapore of the Middle East,” came from Israel.
Without question, Samir Qumsieh is one of the most courageous Christian leaders in the Middle East. Qumsieh is one of the few willing to risk his life to speak out against Muslim persecution of Christians in the Palestinian territories and the Middle East, generally.
For the past four decades, Samir Qumsieh, who hails from a large and well-respected Christian family in the town of Bet Sahour, near Bethlehem, has fought for the rights of the region’s miniscule Palestinian Christian minority. He has even dared to speak out against the subjugation of Christians living under the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
According to tweets from the Women’s Boat to Gaza, the boat has been surrounded by the Israeli Navy and it is expected that the Captain, US Army Colonel Ann Wright, will be urged to turn the Zaytouna around before she enters Gaza’s Israeli occupied water and risks being intercepted by the navy and its crew detained.
World Vision International, one of the major NGO’s serving Gaza, has laid off 120 employees and closed its Gaza office after the head of the charity in the region was indicted by the Israelis for diverting money into the coffers of Hamas.
Israel has begun work on a deep underground wall along its border with the Gaza Strip in order to prevent Hamas from digging cross-border tunnels into Israel. The barrier will run about 37 miles along the border with Gaza, and be equipped with sensors. The Gaza Strip, where about 1.8 million Palestinians live, is already surrounded by a sophisticated system of walls, fences, sensors, and a military patrol road – and the new structure will extends these barriers underground.
It is election season in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians are preparing to cast their votes in the local and municipal elections, scheduled to take place on October 8. The upcoming elections will be different from the last one, held in 2012 only in the West Bank, when Hamas boycotted the vote, allowing the rival Fatah faction to claim victory.
This time Hamas has decided to join the political fray — a move that caught Fatah and its leaders, including Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, by surprise.
Hamas’s decision to participate in the local and municipal elections has further aggravated tensions with Abbas’s Fatah faction, which continues to suffer from deep internal divisions and rivalries.
Remember the Hamas video I posted last week, which showed how Gaza is not the“concentration camp” they claim it is? It has since gained the notice of others, including some of the media like the Times of Israel.
Oh, and also Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah, which has posted this damning response “Thank Hamas.”