Steve Kramer

Gaza: The Hellhole

More than a week has gone by since the infamous sneak attack by Hamas terrorists from Gaza on October 7. I have reported that Michal and I are doing ok, with no missiles striking Kfar Saba and only a few short periods in our in-house shelter. Well, we are not really ok. There are so many injured, killed, or kidnapped Israelis, and those whose home or business has been damaged or destroyed. Many businesses and services are closed, as well as schools. We are all not-ok.

People suffering from losses whom we don’t know, may include the people sitting near us on the train, people we see in the supermarket, people walking by on the streets – you get the picture. In a small country like Israel, things get really personal. So we Israelis are not ok, but we will prevail in this war against heinous, Jew-hating terrorists.

Right now, Israel’s army is massing on the border with Gaza and making preliminary incursions. The army is also beefed up on the northern border with Lebanon. There, the Iranian terrorist, proxy army Hezbollah sits with its 150,000 rockets hidden among hapless Lebanese civilians. (Many are not so hapless and support Israel’s destruction.) There have been already a number of incidents up there.

After the initial, late entry of the IDF into the fight, there have been many mop-up and rescue missions in the south. 1,500 dead Hamas members have been found. The word has gone out to the Gazans in the northern part of Gaza to head south immediately because the IDF will begin its onslaught against Hamas imminently. Reacting to this, Hamas has told the Gazans not to listen to the Israelis and to remain in their homes (which will likely soon be rubble.) 

On October 13, the Jerusalem Post printed an article from the Reuters agency by Nidal Al-Mughrabi which describes the plight of the trapped Gazan citizens in “one of the world’s most densely populated territories.” (See Note below.) Obviously Gazans can’t escape from Gaza to Israel. Nor will its other neighbor, Egypt, allow them into the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt doesn’t want additional terrorists in the Sinai, which already has a problem with  Islamists. 

The Gazans are running out of water, running out of fuel, running out of electricity, all perennial problems, and there are food shortages.. (Already water is partially available in the south.) The hospitals and pharmacies have been lacking in medical supplies and pharmaceuticals for years. Hamas has built no shelters or invested in defensive measures (those are strictly for the terrorists). In common slang, the Gazans are “up a creek without a paddle.”

Journalist Al-Mughrabi names Hamas as a terrorist force. He quotes its 1988 founding charter which calls for Israel’s destruction. He notes that the US, the EU, Canada, Egypt, and Japan all brand Gaza a terrorist organization. Nevertheless, he does not place any blame on Hamas for the situation of the  Gazan civilians, many already homeless and grieving for lost relatives. Evidently, all of this must be the fault of Israel.

In 2007 Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian Authority, which governs the so-called West Bank, the term coined in 1950 to disguise the Jewish history of Judea and Samaria. There have not been elections since the brutal Hamas takeover, which famously included throwing PA members off of apartment house roofs. 

The UN, the EU, various European countries, some Arab countries, and the US all had high hopes for a “Singapore on the Mediterranean,” after Israel unilaterally left the Palestinians to their own devices in 2006. A fortune of money has been donated to Gaza since then. While the financial details are very hard to find, I did see that between 2014 and 2020, at least $4.5 billion was given to Hamas by the UN to build infrastructure and support the population, most of whom live at subsistence level. In addition, Qatar donated $1.3-8 billion and continues to hand over cash. Probably by design, the EU doesn’t release this information, nor do many individual European countries. The US has been a major donor to the Palestinian Arab people, providing more than $5.2 billion through USAID from 1994-2021. 

It’s hard to believe that so much money is injected into Gaza, the world’s highest per capita recipients of foreign aid, who uniquely “inherit” refugee status wherever they reside in the Middle East, even in the Palestinian Authority. This policy insures that with every new generation, more “refugees” are created. 

Where all this money goes is NOT infrastructure. Mostly it’s been used to buy materiel to fight Israel, or to buy dual use products that can be used in weapons manufacture. This is the crux of the problem for the Gazans. Their terrorist masters not only don’t care about their miserable living conditions, Hamas values them mostly as corpses that they can display to Western suckers. This is happening in real time, as Hamas tries to dissuade people from fleeing the northern part of Gaza to the south. Hamas wants them to stay in place so that photographs of their dead bodies can be distributed to the media. 

We Israelis already see the about-face of Western media. The initial week of sympathy, even empathy, with Israelis grieving for their dead children, fathers, mothers, and grandparents, plus missing or kidnapped Israelis of all ages, is over for the most part. Now blame is being almost universally ascribed to Israel for the plight of the “poor Palestinian” Arabs of Gaza. No context of Hamas’ Nazi-like pogrom is provided, fueling hatred of Israel. While Israelis are still suffering from rocket attacks, in the US and Europe non-Israeli Jews bear the brunt of this propaganda. From what we read, Jewish college students are being especially harassed and even sometimes attacked. As a rule, the college administrators are too scared to interdict, or worse, agree with the Jew-haters on their campuses. 

What to do? Tune into the news, but not 24/7. Donate through Israeli or your favorite charities to help supply our troops with ammunition and other equipment. Communicate with your area’s political leaders to continue applying pressure on Washington to back Israel. Don’t be taken in by the propaganda. 

Israel will prevail! First we must liquidate Hamas’ leadership and as many of its soldiers as we can. Then we’ll figure out what to do with Gaza, but not unilaterally. There’s no time to hesitate, pondering what Gaza’s future might be. The preeminent task is to destroy Hamas as an effective enemy. We are fighting Amalek with God’s help. After all, Israel is a land of miracles.

Note: Just about every article you read about the Israel-Hamas war will include this phrase describing the Gaza Strip: “one of the most densely populated places on earth.” I and many other have written numerous letters to the editor disputing this claim – which evidently in never fact-checked. Just to set the record straight, Gaza’s 2.2 million residents live on 139 sq mi of land. For sake of comparison, Brooklyn’s 2.65 million residents live in an area about half the size of Gaza (71 sq mi). Has anyone ever described Brooklyn as “one of the most densely populated places on earth?” If you look on a list of most densely populated places, Gaza is far down the list. Many smaller, more densely populated places have prospered. But those places don’t have a citizenry that would allow itself to be ruled by a terrorist organization.

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.
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