Families of 8 Gazan migrants who drowned blame Hamas for their deaths

“I blame all the officials here who do not take care of young people or provide them with employment opportunities,” said the mother of one of the victims.

Palestinians attend the funeral of 8 people, who died when a ship carrying migrants drowned offshore Tunisia in October, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 18, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)
Palestinians attend the funeral of 8 people, who died when a ship carrying migrants drowned offshore Tunisia in October, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 18, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

Some of the family members of eight residents of the city of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip who drowned two months ago while they were migrating from Tunisia to Europe blamed Hamas for their deaths, Ynet reported on Monday.

Thousands of people attended the funerals of the victims in Gaza, according to the report.

One woman whose 21-year-old son was one of the migrants who died blamed government officials for the tragedy.

“The government that controls us here is the reason. It is to blame.”

Mother of one of the migrants who drowned

"The government that controls us here is the reason. It is to blame, she said. "I blame all the officials here who do not take care of young people or provide them with employment opportunities."

She added that although her son studied literature, he was unable to find a well-paying job. He worked at a local hair salon for 10 shekels per day. "If there were jobs here for those young people, would they leave?" she said.

Mourners attend the funeral of 8 people, who died when a ship carrying migrants drowned offshore Tunisia in October, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 18, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)Mourners attend the funeral of 8 people, who died when a ship carrying migrants drowned offshore Tunisia in October, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 18, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

Another family lost their son, who was also 21, and his 20-year-old brother is currently missing. The brothers were on the same boat as the aforementioned woman's son.

"What do we see in Gaza? We only see oppression," their mother said, adding that "They suffocate the young and the young run away because of their suffocation."

The report noted that the eight migrants were among some two dozen Palestinians who have drowned in the last three months while migrating to Europe.

Ynet also noted that the blockade of the Gaza Strip has weakened the economy, a fact that residents often blame Israel for.

However, the report said, increasing numbers of Gazans have been expressing their displeasure with the Hamas government.

Tensions between Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Criticism by Gazan civilians is not the only problem facing Hamas at the moment.

The Jerusalem Post reported in August that Hamas was criticized by supporters of rival terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) for not joining the group in firing rockets at Israel.

Some critics suggested that Hamas may even have benefitted from the conflict between its rival and Israel.

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.