The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) are psyched, because they believe they have won this last round of rocket attacks on Israel. Declaring victory, they are shouting, “Gaza has won the five-day fight with Israel.” But what did they win? Was it a better life for their citizens? Was it better economic conditions or more freedom – which is exactly what most people hope for in life?
No! None of that is important to them. In fact, the death of 11 commanders and fighters, which came as a result of IDF strikes, in response to endless barrages of rockets to the south, the center and even Jerusalem, doesn’t seem to phase them too much. And here’s the reason why.
Those who are controlling Gaza have no end game. They are not in it to garner justice for Gazans or to raise their standard of living because they care. They don’t care, and that’s the motivation behind their periodic strikes, which result in major losses to them, both from a standpoint of their infrastructure and their economy – not to mention the death of their own leadership. So why do they do it? What are they really getting out of it?
In today’s Jerusalem Post Letters to the Editor, Neville Berman opines, in his letter entitled, “Terrorist Enterprise,” that, in 1993, Israel entered into the Oslo Accords, with the PLO, then run by Yasser Arafat. Each side was to recognize the other. Consequently, control of Gaza was given to the Palestinian Authority with the hope that peace would result. Arafat was given control of the Gaza Airport. Berman says that with the “excellent Gaza beaches and cooler temperatures than other Gulf states in summer, the airport could have brought in thousands of tourists who would have created jobs and prosperity.” He says that there was “optimism for a better future.”
But predictably, just as large hotel chains came to inquire about building there, they were thwarted by Arafat, who would only agree if he got a piece of the action – meaning a percentage of profits. When the hotels refused, Arafat “demanded that he appoint all staff at the hotels” - yet another way to skim off the top. Needless to say, all offers were rescinded, and no hotels were ever built.
In the end, Israel shut down the Gaza Airport, which was being used to house weapons being smuggled into Gaza, and this led to the perpetuation of poverty and angst among its residents.
Regrettably, those people never had a chance to improve their conditions. Because the very leaders, in whom they placed their hope and their destiny, chose to hold them hostage as pawns in their endless game of using the appearance of a liberation struggle, imposed by a Jewish superpower, as a means to line their pockets. Continuing to market the cause and frame it in a way which engendered sympathy, became a very effective method of scamming. It has resulted in an enormously high pay out.
In fact, a number of these Jihadist leaders have no interest in living in Gaza themselves. According to reports, some “senior leaders of Palestinian factions have left their homes in the Gaza Strip and are currently living in luxury hotels in rich countries, together with their families. Israel’s leading Hebrew newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, ran a piece entitled, “From refugee camps to 5-star hotels,” stating that at least eight top figures from the Hamas movement and the Islamic Jihad left the enclave over the past year.”
Does anyone doubt how they are able to live such luxurious lives while the rate of unemployment in Gaza is hovering around 50%, with the average wage being the equivalent of $9 per day? This doesn’t even take into consideration the complete lack of essential services and clean drinking water.
Even the Arab Weekly reports that Hamas leaders are seen as living in luxury while Gazans suffer.
They cite that, “While Gazans grumble privately they rarely speak out against Hamas, which has a history of locking up critics.” Things are so bad there that the area has been referred to as “the world’s largest open-air prison of two million people.” Nothing has improved, year after year, and Gazans struggle to afford even basic necessities.
The potential for Gaza, as a coveted vacation venue, could have made a world of difference for a people who, their leaders claim, are oppressed, downtrodden and disenfranchised. The truth is that they only have these same leaders to blame for the endless morass in which they find themselves.
Arafat and those who took over his role, to the present day, all have one thing in common. They are interested in enriching themselves rather than advocating for their population. This is evidenced by the continued siphoning of funds which are sent to them by those who believe the lying narrative that Israel is responsible for the ills and oppression of the Palestinian people.
What is clear, from all of this, is that nothing will change amongst those who have tagged a people and manipulated them as their means to amass great wealth and power, while leaving them to languish. That’s part of the scheme, because someone has to be the perennial poster child in order to keep the money flowing into the coffers.
Shame on them for being the real abusers whose stony hearts are indifferent to the cries of their people, but we cannot expect better from such a corrupt lot. What we can expect, though, is for people to educate themselves on why there is suffering in Gaza, who is responsible for it, and how to put an end to perpetuating it.
While activists, throughout Europe and the U.S., continue to disseminate a false message, ignorantly believing that they are supporting a worthy cause, they should know that they are actually aiding and abetting evil and corrupt actors, who snicker in private at the way they have been able to so easily dupe others into believing a fabricated and deceitful narrative which continues to finance their own lavish lifestyles.
No one should want to be part of that kind of depravity, but until the truth is fully exposed, it looks as if Gaza will have to wait to become the Garden of Eden it could have been.
A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.