It’s freezing here. We had a few short blackouts yesterday. Today I prepared a ton of candles, so of course Murphy’s Law kept the heat and light on all day. There’s a huge puddle, more like a small pond, in front of my house. And less than two kilometers away, due west, in Gaza, it’s so much worse.
I could have kicked myself for forgetting to turn on my electric sheet and room heater before getting into a bone-chilling bed. And then I read this article and thought of all the people so near, so cold and in the dark. I know that the worse their lives are, the more motivation they will have to shoot rockets and dig tunnels into Israel. Due to the weather, tunnels have been collapsing, which is a good thing. But they’ll be rebuilt just as they were after the war, because the Gazans are desperate.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am NOT making excuses or justifying terror. Not in any shape or form. But as someone who has paid, and continues to pay, a dear price for this conflict, living under mortar-fire (still sporadically on-going) and within a short jog from the mouth of one of the terror-tunnels that had been neutralized shortly before the war, I feel I have the legitimacy, and even obligation to empathize with my fellow human beings who are dealing with this bitter cold spell, with insufficient heating, electricity and infrastructure. Oh yes – and water.
As I have been saying for years, until the Gazans have something to live for, they will only have something to die for. The more miserable they are, the more terror we will have to deal with. This is simply because it’s so much easier for residents of Gaza to blame Israel than to rise up against the Hamas. The little aid the people MANAGE to get, comes through the Hamas. When you are starving, you do not bite the hand that feeds you. My question is: what can the world do to offer another hand bearing food?
Most of the money pledged to Gaza after the war, never got there, thanks to the lack of agreement between all governments involved. Mainly the Palestinian Authority. However, it is essential that the donors take responsibility to fulfill the necessary conditions to ensure that money goes to where it was intended, rather than falling into the wrong hands. This is the information as of one year ago, and I have no knowledge of any significant change. Although we witness what seems to be a lot of trucks barrelling by on their way to Gaza, it is a drop in the bucket, relative to what they actually need to house their homeless. Little money or materials actually get into Gaza, and, even as I write this, much of what is delivered goes into fortifying underground, and comes right back at me.
Gazans are not my enemies. The Hamas are.
Gaza is NOT Hamas.
Don’t tell me that they deserve the government they have, because they chose them back in 2007. Sure, Gazans voted for Hamas to rule after the Israeli withdrawal (in “democratic” elections) but since that time, there have been no elections. Gaza is NO democracy. Political opponents to Hamas were thrown off rooftops as part of the “democratic” campaigning protocol. Anyone who speaks up against Hamas, puts their life – and that of their family’s – in danger. Even in the supposed privacy of a closed and secret Facebook group, it caN be treacherous for Gazans to write what they really think of their leaders.
I believe that the everyday citizen walking the streets of Gaza, does not yearn for Israel’s destruction. If they did; if all 2 million Gazans were desperate enough, all they would have to do would be to get up and walk east: one huge wall of humanity. No one could stop them. As I keep telling everyone who comes to visit me here on the border, I have no doubt that most of the people in Gaza, just want what I want: safety for their children, food on their tables, education, a way to earn an honest living… and a dry warm place to live in the cold wet winter.
But today, life is far from that simple ideal. With their water sources being contaminated by the broken sewage system, their houses flooded by the rains that have been welcomed by the farmers on this side of the border, those Gazans who are controlled and motivated by the Hamas propaganda, the ones who shoot the rockets and the ones who are destined to go into those tunnels that have been under renewed construction, all those will have even more motivation to grab their shovels, feeding off the misery of their loved ones: their people. The situation isn’t going from bad to worse. It’s going from disastrous to catastrophic.
According to UN reports, within 4 – 5 years, Gaza will be uninhabitable. So, as I see it, we can either put pressure on all our governments to do something to change that timeline……or we can sit back and do nothing and wait for the Gazans to start walking.