Gaza on the Brink

As Gaza falls ever deeper into despair, the people increasingly know there’s only one culprit to blame: Hamas

By Edy Cohen | | Topics: Gaza, Hamas
More than 70 percent of Gaza's population now lives below the poverty line.
More than 70 percent of Gaza's population now lives below the poverty line. Photo: Wissam Nassar/Flash90

The economic situation in Gaza is getting worse by the day, causing deep frustration among the Palestinians living there. Unemployment reached 44.7 percent in the last quarter of 2021 among men. Women do not work there at all. The average salary is NIS 655 ($210) per month.

Most of those who do work in Gaza work in agricultural, transportation, the medical field or as fishermen. There are also the “government” workers who belong to the Hamas terrorist apparatus. These receive salaries when the money is transferred to them from Qatar.

Gaza is supposed to be financed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which in practice has long since halted funding to Gaza because of the rivalry and hostility between the PA and Hamas, a conflict that began in 2007 with Hamas’ bloody takeover of the coastal enclave.

Because of this dire situation, many local residents are trying to flee the Gaza Strip through Egypt or through Judea and Samaria.

In recent months, Israel has allowed about 10,000 workers from Gaza to enter Israel-proper for employment. Many of them never return to Gaza but remain as illegal workers in Israel. They prefer being on the run in Israel to the nightmare of life in Gaza. Even at minimum wage, a worker from Gaza can earn at least NIS 5,000 ($1,600) a month in Israel, which is an astronomical amount relative to what is earned there.

Contrary to forecasts, Gaza is not recovering. All the promises of Gaza’s reconstruction have not been fulfilled and the lack of financial assistance from the Gulf states and Western countries has further exacerbated the situation, not to mention Corona and its implications for the health system. Although UNRWA has been trying in every way to help local residents for more than 70 years, naive European countries have accustomed Palestinians to live and trust international aid, while Arab countries have long since stopped providing financial assistance. These fellow Muslim countries are busy with their own problems.

Unemployment, the lack of electricity, the shutdown of Arab aid, the plague of Corona, and on top of all that the corruption at the top of Hamas are causing havoc and deep despair among the population.

At the same time, unemployment is likely to fall in the next quarter of 2022 due to the easing of restrictions and Israel allowing thousands of Palestinian workers into Israel-proper.

Still, the signs of despair which could lead to a needed revolution are increasing, as seen in the following video of a man from Gaza turning for help to the dead in the cemetery, and also to God.

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