Palestinians stand by the rubble of the home of Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City.
We have no more tears to shed with regard to the state of the Palestinians in general and that of the people of Gaza in particular. 100 years of the Arab-Israeli conflict are primarily 100 years of Arab hatred and violence that have only brought them misery and poverty. But even though the Palestinians are to blame for their own plight, the people of Gaza are among the most wretched of people. The curse "Go to Gaza" is an idiomatic phrase copied from Arabic and expresses accurately the contempt with which their Arab brothers regard them.
Gaza is the dilapidated backyard of the Palestinians. Nobody ever wanted Gaza or wants Gaza now and even Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, when he wanted to make a political concession to the Arabs, preferred to give them Gaza.
Till '67 Gaza was under Egyptian rule and was treated like an unwanted stepchild. After the Six Day War, Israel gained control and in '82 when Israel returned to Egypt as part of the Camp David Accords, what it had captured from Egypt in 1967, the Egyptians preferred to leave Gaza under Israeli control.
They preferred not to take responsibility for Gaza and with all due respect to the importance of liberating "Arab Lands", they also have their red lines.
Since 2006, when Israel withdrew from Gaza, Gaza has remained stagnant. The option of independence granted by Israel has been funneled into fortifying its position as a terrorist entity. The huge amounts of money that it has received from countries all around the world was invested in building tunnels, producing missiles and in training terrorists. Political control in Gaza passed from Fatah to even more radical Islamic organizations. Their energies are directed to smuggling weapons and munitions instead of building centers for industry and businesses. The beautiful Gaza coastline, which could have been turned into a tourist gem, has been turned into a smuggling area for ships carrying weapons. Even Egypt, which allowed Gazans throughout the years, to make use of their common boundary, are fed up with the Gazans' treachery, and closed their borders. Gaza found itself politically isolated from the Palestinian leadership in Judea and Samaria, cut off from the Egyptian border and seaway and unable to import raw materials for production and industry.
You look at the Gazans and ask yourself, what's their story? Why are they doing this to themselves? Why do they continue with aggressive provocations of war that they know from the outset will inflict upon themselves ongoing damage and destruction? Is it stupidity, cowardice of the local leadership or a primitive ideology that holds in contempt the disastrous consequences of their actions? Is the idea of independence too much for them to handle? Are they afraid to take responsibility and instead flee to "holy wars"? I have no doubt that there are Gazans who want to pass their days and nights in quiet and enjoy personal and economic security, but I wonder where they are. Why do they elect terrorist organizations that only cause them damage? Why don't they demand a leadership that will free them from their many years of misery? Why is there not a local Gaza movement to protest the leadership's endangering of their children's lives? Why do they not make a desperate call for a normal life? The writer is head of the Efrat council.
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