By Alan Simons
Hamas’ verbal diarrhea increases in intensity.
“Hamas: Israel is cancer and must be uprooted.”
Ahlul Bayt News Agency reports – New Hamas representative to Tehran, [Khaled al-Qoddoumi] told in an inaugural interview that the ultimate goal of the movement was to free the entire Palestinian land, destroy the Zionist regime and rescue the revered Quds from the claws of the Zionists.
JUNE 14, 2011 – This week the UN reports to us that Gaza’s unemployment rate in late 2010 was among the world’s highest, at 45.2%. That’s up from 40% in 2008. The report points out private businesses have been economically hardest hit, which is not difficult to understand based upon Hamas’ intensity towards any business group opposed to their Iranian sharia-style of government. Gaza’s entrepreneurs who show interest in removing themselves from the poverty and dependency on Hamas, interference in their business has been swift and brutal. The despot government of Hamastan rules with unforgiving relentlessness against individuals not towing their line.
Gaza is a naive notion that looks great on super-soft toilet paper.
Some eighteen months ago I wrote that Gaza is “A naive notion that looks great on super-soft toilet paper.” I haven’t changed my opinion.
For years money has continued to flow into Gaza from many foreign sources. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of September 10, 2009, based upon information provided by some 115 donors and appealing organizations, contributions during 2009 to the “occupied Palestinian territory” total US$651,768,805, with further uncommitted pledges totaling US$49,923,719. Give or take one million here and there, all of these contributions have been allocated to further “enhance”, if you can call it that, the day-to-day lives of most of the 1.5 million people living in Gaza, of which 30 per cent (420,000) are classified as non-refugees and the remaining 70 per cent as “registered” refugees.
And there’s more to tell. The European Union (EU) loves to congratulate itself as being the largest single financial contributor to the Palestinian cause. From 2003-2009, the EU has given aid exceeding US$3.3 billion. In addition, at the Sharm el-Sheikh Conference held in 2009, 90 participating countries pledged a further US$4.5 billion for the next two years, for both the reconstruction of Gaza and in support of the entire Palestinian economy. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Gaza’s population still remain in abject economic poverty. Some of the reasons are obvious:
- The 2010 unemployment rate in Gaza was estimated at an average of 45 percent. – An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) household survey, conducted in May 2008, showed that over 70 per cent of Gazans were living in poverty, with monthly incomes of less than 250 US dollars.
- 44.4 per cent of its population are under 15 years of age. That’s over twice the amount for China, the USA and Canada, and nearly 60 per cent more than for Israel.
- Gaza’s population growth rate, the eighth fastest in the world, will double in 20 years. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), estimates the per family average size in the Gaza Strip at 6.2 persons, which is one of the highest in the world.
ICRC rationalizes it this way: “The crisis has become so severe and entrenched [in Gaza] that even if all crossings were to open tomorrow it would take years for the economy to recover.”
Recover from what? For those pointing donor fingers, the collapse of the Gaza economy cannot be blamed exclusively on Israel. And, as for Egypt, the BBC reports today, “A change of policy by Cairo has seen the southern border crossing at Rafah opened daily for civilian traffic, but not for trade.” Yesterday’s Palestine Chronicle adds, “Gazans are treated like animals at the [Egyptian] border.”
The people of Gaza need some form of economic direct aid transfer system.
What all of the so-called well-intentioned goodwill cheque book ambassadors will not accept, is that by placating a screaming impoverished Gazan baby, whose parent is an Iranian-backed designated terrorist organisation, with a billion dollar lollypop to shut them up, might make them feel better but it does nothing other than prolong the day-to-day pain for individual Gazans. Simply put, as individuals, what many of the people of Gaza must surely want to see, is some form of economic direct aid transfer system that reduces their poverty and dependency on Hamas, yet encourages self-esteem and gives incentives, without government interference, for the many first-class entrepreneurs amongst them.
As Daniel Hannan, the British writer and journalist has pointed out, “Palestinians are a naturally enterprising people who, in other Arab states, often form the professional and administrative class. A capitalist Palestine, in which citizens looked to themselves rather than to the state, would be more stable. Its propertied classes would have a stake in civil order. Its businessmen would have an incentive to remain on cordial terms with their customers, including those in Israel.”
So there you have it! Gazans remain trapped in what Daniel Hannan refers to as “the squalor of dependency.” I honestly wish I had something encouraging to share with the people who have to live under Hamas rule. At this time, Salam alaikum – السلام عليكم is the only thing I can muster.
(Photo credit: Photobucket and The Blog of Record)
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