Left-wing propagandists have spent the last several years successfully painting a picture of Gaza as a place where children starve and where all are in need. In reply, Israel and her defenders have attempted to point out that such tales are pure myth and that, in fact, there is no shortage of food or medicine in Gaza despite the limited blockade that has been imposed on the region since Hamas seized power there in a bloody coup. But there’s no need to listen to the Israelis on that point. As the New York Times makes clear in a 2,500-word dispatch published today about life in Gaza, the residents of the strip have no reticence about refuting the lies about a humanitarian crisis:
There are plenty of things to buy in Gaza; goods are brought over the border or smuggled through the tunnels with Egypt. That is not the problem. In fact, talk about food and people here get angry because it implies that their struggle is over subsistence rather than quality of life. The issue is not hunger. It is idleness, uncertainty and despair.
The picture painted in this story of life in Gaza is not pretty. But it makes it clear that what is really bothering Gazans is how boring life in Hamasistan can be. The Gazans chose to be ruled by an Islamist terrorist group dedicated to perpetuating the war against Israel and to the idea that Israel can someday be destroyed. But they think it is unfair to pay any price for the state of belligerency that exists with Israel — even if their basic needs are guaranteed by both the international community and the country they wish to destroy.
To their credit, authors Michael Slackman and Ethan Bronner make clear that the Palestinians’ biggest problem is the civil war being waged between the Hamas and Fatah organizations, as the latter’s decision to shut off electricity to Gaza to get even with Hamas illustrates.
As far as Israel, Palestinians are a bit confused. They desire its destruction, but at the same time, they think it is unfair that they should not be allowed to work there or that trade between Israel and Gaza should be halted because of the terrorist campaigns waged against the Jewish state by the groups Palestinians support. They want war and vote for Hamas but think it is unjust that they have lost income because of Israel’s measures of self-defense that were created because of Hamas terrorism. This confusion is well illustrated in the quote from Abdel Qader Ismail, 24, a former employee of the military intelligence service who now produces anti-Israel plays:
Our play does not mean we hate Israel. We believe in Israel’s right to exist, but not on the land of Palestine. In France or in Russia, but not in Palestine. This is our home.
It never seems to occur to Ismail that Israelis have no wish to live in France or Russia but instead want their own homeland, which they have demonstrated time and again that they are willing to share with the Palestinians if only they will finally accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state in part of that small country.
The tales in this report of Gaza’s abused wives and hopeless idle men are sad. But the answer to their isolation is an end to their war against Israel. If Palestinians would reject Hamas and an ethos of war to the death against Israel and accept a two-state solution with a Jewish state, Gaza’s isolation would end, and the Palestinian people could then concentrate their energies on development rather than on war. Until the Palestinians’ sense of identity is bound up with something more than merely rejection of Israel, the pathetic life they lead in Gaza will continue. And though they — and their foreign supporters — may prefer to rant about Israel, the truth is, the blame for their unenviable fate is largely their own.