To hear it from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which perpetrated a five-day rocket attack on Israel’s southern communities, the center and even Jerusalem, they came out the winner. The victory is solidly theirs.
But, let’s say you’re a resident of the Gaza Strip, someone who had to put up with retaliatory measures by the IDF after those calling the shots on your city chose to poke the bear. As you look around and see the damage to your infrastructure and the debris that once represented standing buildings, would you honestly come to the same conclusion that you’re the winner?
It’s sad to say, but the very people who are paying the greatest price, the Gaza Strip’s ordinary residents, probably don’t feel as if they are the winner in this ongoing hostage-holding of two million people who are being used for only one purpose.
What are Gazans to their leadership?
Gazans are the pawns in a very evil chess game where the leaders are only pretending to bring justice, opportunity and prosperity to their people, but in reality, are bringing a fistful of dollars to themselves. Can it be interpreted any other way when so many Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders have chosen to abandon their fellow citizens for the greener pastures of Europe? As they live the life of rockstars in the lap of luxury, it’s hard not to connect those green dots to one of the biggest scams that have ever been pulled off on the people that they claim to champion.
And why shouldn’t they leave the hellhole that they’ve created? Without essential services, clean drinking water and a contented population, they really have no reason to stay, except, perhaps, to punish those who have noticed what’s really going on and who is preventing them from having a good life.
Here’s the sad truth. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the Gaza Strip’s potential for prosperity. It sits on one of the most stunning coastlines of the Mediterranean with magnificent ocean breezes, unlike the scorching temperatures of Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
With a little imagination, ingenuity and investment, the Gaza Strip could be turned into an enormously requested vacation spot frequented by Israelis and Europeans. But all that is contingent upon the cooperation of these jihadi scammers who remain unwilling to create the type of paradise that could truly bring wealth and prosperity to their people.
SO WHY aren’t they doing that? It’s not too complicated to figure out, but once you do, it becomes clear just how insidious and grotesque these warring leaders are in their willingness to perpetuate suffering as a means to their end.
For them, the intolerable life in the Gaza Strip, defined by some as the largest open-air prison with upwards of 50% unemployment, must remain the misery that it’s become in order for them to hold it up as their ultimate advertisement of injustice and hardship. Not only that, but it’s all courtesy of those wretched Israelis who are holding back the Gaza Strip’s residents, just because they can.
That’s what’s called successful marketing that yields big bucks. They show footage of weeping children, young people devoid of hope and mothers who can’t put food on the table. Those are the effective images that keep those checks coming.
But while all of that agony and torment is playing out, be assured that the children of the Islamic leaders are splashing in the waters of a refreshing infinity pool at a five-star hotel, while their parents are eating the finest food and probably shopping at the trendiest boutiques.
On January 14, 2022, Israel’s leading Hebrew newspaper Yediot Ahronot published an article that testifies to these facts. The title says it all, “From refugee camps to 5-star hotels,” pointing out that “at least eight top figures from the Hamas movement and the Islamic Jihad left the enclave over the past year.”
But if you, as a Gaza Strip resident, dare to complain about your misery while financing the cool lifestyle of these unholy Jihadists, you might find yourself in a bit of hot water because blowing their cover is strictly forbidden.
Yet going back to Yasser Arafat, the original head of the PLO, he had the golden opportunity afforded him through the Oslo Accords to turn the Gaza Strip into a Garden of Eden, which would have brought the greatest blessing for the people who he claimed were forgotten. It was then that, given the outlook of a promising future, and the end of a centuries-old conflict, well-heeled hoteliers came to the area to inquire about setting up shop for the multitudes of tourist dollars they anticipated.
It equally sounded great to Yasser Arafat’s ears, who agreed so long as he’d get a cut but when that was refused, he downgraded his request to being the one who would supply the hotel staff. Apparently, he considered another clever way to stick his hand in the pie.
WHEN THAT didn’t work, the nervous investors pulled out altogether, realizing that if he wasn’t in, neither were they. From there, the Gaza Strip continued to spiral downward with no opportunity or chance for the upward mobility of its people.
In fact, Israel has probably been the greatest lifeline for the Gazans who have been able to obtain employment in a number of fields. In 2022, Israel granted 1,500 additional work permits for the Gazans, which raised the total to 17,000 who were employed here, per a September 22 article by the Times of Israel. The hope was that the number would top 20,000 if there were no changes, as it concerned matters of security.
There is no question that all of this could have been a very different picture if the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad really cared for their people, as they say, they do. Prosperity and the feeling that life is generally good lead to peace and make for good neighbors with those who sense that their well-being matters, too.
For all those activists who came to the Eurovision venue holding up signs that called for the end of Palestinian genocide, they might want to educate themselves on who is really perpetrating a financial genocide. There’s a famous expression that says, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” In this case, the horrifying racket for which they have fallen, as a result of vicious and calculated lies, might finally open their eyes and, indeed, set them free from being part of the con.
However, one must be willing to be exposed to the truth in order to be set free, and given that Israel bashing is a side benefit that comes from this fraud, it might take a while before liberation comes to these activists. Sadly, being blind to Israel is intrinsically connected to being blind to the scam of the people of the Gaza Strip.
The writer is a former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal. She is also the author of Mistake-Proof Parenting, available on Amazon, based on the time-tested wisdom found in the Book of Proverbs.