Adrienne Skolnik

Gaza and the Wizard of Oz have a lot in common!

Between August and September of 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s – Disengagement Plan Implementation Law – was carried out forcing 8,500 Israeli residents (and soldiers) who lived in the Gaza Strip for decades, to vacate their homes and businesses and return to Israel. A task easier said than done.

Compensation was offered by the Israeli government and most of the residents packed up and left without incident. Others did not. The IDF was then sent to take on this highly emotional task. In this video, you will see the anguish of the residents and the soldiers who had to forcibly remove their own people from their homes. “Brother against brother.” It was truly heartbreaking.

After all the residents were gone, the IDF conducted demolition of the homes and businesses, leaving only a synagogue for they could not destroy a holy place.

Israel’s presence in Gaza completely ended as of 2005. No more residents. No more soldiers.

Now it was up to the Palestinians to create the utopia they dreamed of.

Hamas won the Palestinian election in 2006, and from then on, the propaganda images were that of the entire population living in a “concentration camp” with abject poverty everywhere.

Now why would I compare Gaza to the Wizard of Oz?

The Wizard of Oz first appears as this great and powerful, green fiery face with a roaring voice, surrounded by billowing flames, causing fear and trembling in all those who are in his presence. The Wizard, however, is later revealed as an ordinary old magician pulling levers and yelling into a microphone when the curtain he hides behind is accidentally pulled back.  At which point, his phony and contrived illusion meant to manipulate and create fear is discovered and he becomes apologetic for his great deception.

Gaza’s propaganda is like the “emerald curtain” of the Wizard of Oz. It portrays the Palestinians as an oppressed and persecuted people, denied life’s necessities and pleasures. And who is to blame? The Israelis. And as stated above, to the degree of living in a “concentration camp” with abject poverty everywhere.

Now let’s draw back the “emerald curtain” in Gaza and see if this is true?

In a Jerusalem Post article February 25, 2024, IDF Reservist Roi Yanovsky shares what he saw in reality. Gaza was a modern, developed city before October 7th.

“Pre-war Gaza was a modern, beautiful, developed city – with large, furnished houses, wide avenues, public areas, a promenade, and parks. It looked much better than any other Arab city ‘from the river to the sea.’ Gaza City reminds me more of Tel Aviv than the awful slums that some people try to make it out to be.”

“The houses in Gaza were full of goods and food from across the Middle East, the houses had modern furniture, appliances, and pretty much any up-to-date consumer product and electronics you can imagine.”

“There are also high-end mansions that could easily have been in Los Angeles or Beverly Hills. There was no lack of wealth in Gaza.”

Now let’s take a stroll and see the five best places to visit in Gaza before October 7th.  It is a beautiful sunny day and we can enjoy the scenery.

Then we can walk through Gaza’s outdoor green markets that are alive with color and an absolutely beautiful display of fresh garden produce. You can only imagine the aroma of this vast array of food products.

We continue walking along a main thoroughfare with beautiful tiled sidewalks and an array of stores displaying all types of merchandise. It looks like a typical commercial shopping area in any modern city. The amount of merchandise and cars in Gaza is quite amazing, especially for a “concentration camp!”

A really exciting event would be visiting the new luxury mall that opened in Gaza – July 26, 2010. Imagine that! A luxury mall in a “concentration camp.”

Then in GAZA CITY, February 23, 2017 a new Western-style indoor shopping mall, complete with an international retail chain, three-story bookstore and bustling food court opened for the public to enjoy.

Let’s take another walk through a Gaza city outdoor shopping mall. Notice all the food, clothes, toys, and cars driving through this “concentration camp.”

More articles about the new shopping center aims to attract international brands. People look quite happy and healthy.

The narrator in this video says the shopping mall is owned and managed by Hamas, but blames Israel (for they are under siege!!!) for too many cheap products from China. You will also see an array of Israeli products in the stores.

Let’s visit another delightful open market with the best Ramadan food in Gaza. Another incredible array of artfully prepared food and spices. Again, I can only imagine the beautiful aromas of the fresh and prepared foods.

I am impressed with the appealing displays and friendliness of the vendors.

There was another very interesting video showing the opulent homes of the wealthy Gazans, however, it was taken off youtube. It was called, “The True Face of Gaza. Not quite the open-air prison the world thinks it is.”  The homes were furnished like in downtown Manhattan.

When I discovered these videos, I was truly shocked. Hamas propaganda (like the “emerald curtain” in the Wizard of Oz) works really well in manipulating the media and convincing the world that the Palestinians are a persecuted, deprived and subjugated people due to Israeli occupation.

The documentary of the IDF forcefully removing Israelis from Gaza in 2005 negates this supposition.

From what I observe in these videos, the Palestinians are true capitalists with thriving businesses and the will to succeed. They are college educated at the Gaza university and attend universities worldwide, so they have the same opportunities as in any other country.

When I look at their faces and watch them joyously interact with one another, I see a happy and industrious people.

This makes it even more difficult for me to comprehend their deep-seated, generational hatred of Israel and the Jews, for hate and indoctrination permeate all aspect of one’s life and cripples growth and productivity. But that is another story.

So let’s not dwell on the hatred. Let’s concentrate on the potential of an entrepreneurial and creative people who, hopefully, can be deradicalized (which could take generations), and become great entrepreneurs, scientists, professors, etc., respected and contributing members to their own society and that of the world in general.

Who knows, given the right inspirational environment and education, there may even be a Palestinian Einstein!

Now that the true Gaza has been exposed, like the true Wizard of Oz, and the “emerald curtain” no longer hides reality, let’s hope and pray that when the war is over, and Hamas is no longer in control, lasting change which comes slowly, will create positive and lucrative opportunities for the entire Gazan population. We saw this phenomenon occur in Germany and Japan after World War II.

In closing, to counter any accusations of Israel perpetuating genocide or withholding food, water and medical supplies from the Palestinians (“more lies perpetrated from behind the Gazan “emerald curtain,” and manipulating the media), here is the Israeli government update as of April 1, 2024 detailing the enormous amount of humanitarian aid and assistance being sent into Gaza.

If you can think of one other country that has provided this much aid to an enemy during a war, please leave your response in the comment section below.

About the Author
Adrienne Skolnik worked professionally as a commercial real estate broker. She served on the National Advisory Committee of the Conference of Jewish Affairs with her friend and mentor, the late Rabbi Aryeh Spero, and was creator of The New Jewish Exodus Project zoom presentation: Jews Fleeing Woke Synagogues! – Americans for Peace and Tolerance
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