The jihad terror group Hamas has run Gaza like a criminal gang since the Gaza War it fought with Fatah in 2007, which ended in Hamas’ total victory, with the killing of more than 100 Fatah fighters, and the expulsion of hundreds more. Hamas runs the Strip with an iron fist, brooking no dissent. The top echelon of its leaders are colossally corrupt; just two of them, Khalid Meshaal and Moussa Abu Marzouk, have each amassed fortunes of $2.5 billion from aid money they stole. Meanwhile, more than 60% of the Gazans live below the poverty line. And one way the young men of Gaza hope to have a future is by migrating to Europe. But those who take off for Europe risk their lives in the rickety boats of the human traffickers. Recently such a boat, leaving from Tunisia, capsized, and eight Gazan migrants on board, originally from Khan Yunis, drowned. The story of why they took such a risk, and the reaction of their families to their deaths, is here: “Families of 8 Gazan migrants who drowned blame Hamas for their deaths,” Jerusalem Post, December 19, 2022:
Some of the family members of eight residents of the city of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip who drowned two months ago while they were migrating from Tunisia to Europe blamed Hamas for their deaths, Ynet reported on Monday.
This willingness to criticize Hamas so openly is a new phenomenon; the parents of the boys who drowned surely feel now that they have little, or nothing, to lose. In their despair, they have acquired courage. And they are ready to blame Hamas for making their children’s lives so miserable that they sought to escape to Europe by sea.
Thousands of people attended the funerals of the victims in Gaza, according to the report.
One woman whose 21-year-old son was one of the migrants who died blamed government officials for the tragedy.
“The government that controls us here is the reason. It is to blame,” she said. “I blame all the officials here who do not take care of young people or provide them with employment opportunities.”
She added that although her son studied literature, he was unable to find a well-paying job. He worked at a local hair salon for 10 shekels per day. “If there were jobs here for those young people, would they leave?” she said.
Her son, with a degree in literature, and presumably well-educated, was reduced to menial work that paid him less than $3 a day. That is not a living wage, and shows just how bad the economy has become in Gaza. The dream of many Gazans is to obtain a work permit for Israel, where salaries can be ten times larger than in Gaza. .Seventeen thousand Gazans now work in Israel; so do nearly 100,000 Palestinians in the West Bank each day. It’s a great risk for the Israelis to admit so many Palestinians, but they are eager to help the Palestinian economy.
Another family lost their son, who was also 21, and his 20-year-old brother is currently missing. The brothers were on the same boat as the aforementioned woman’s son.
“What do we see in Gaza? We only see oppression,” their mother said, adding that “They suffocate the young and the young run away because of their suffocation.”
The report noted that the eight migrants were among some two dozen Palestinians who have drowned in the last three months while migrating to Europe.
Ynet also noted that the blockade of the Gaza Strip has weakened the economy, a fact that residents often blame Israel for.
However, the report said, increasing numbers of Gazans have been expressing their displeasure with the Hamas government.
The young men trying to make their way from Gaza, where they are “suffocated” economically and politically, are the victims of the Hamas Lords of Misrule. It is the Hamas leaders who have stolen billions of dollars in aid that was supposed to go to the people of Gaza. It is Hamas that chose to spend hundreds of millions of dollars buying, or sometimes building, tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, to be launched at Israel on some future occasion, after which the IDF will respond with crushing force, destroying much of the infrastructure of Gaza. It is Hamas that has spent billions of dollars on a vast underground network of tunnels, where its weapons and fighters can be hidden, and also be moved about without the IDF detecting such movement, or so Hamas fondly believed before it was proven wrong in the May 2021 hostilities with Israel.
All this money that has been diverted by corrupt leaders for their own use, or spent on preparations for war, is money that is not available to help the Gazans, with job creation, public works projects, aid to small businesses, and vocational training that could allow young Gazans to become part of a modern workforce.
But now eight bereaved mothers of Gaza, whose sons drowned trying to escape their wretched existences in Gaza and make it to the promised land of Europe, have had enough, and are speaking out, for the first time, against not Israel, but Hamas, the real source of everything that has made the lives of Gazans so miserable for so long.
Will this anger spread throughout Gaza, like the anger that began in Iran with the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police, and metastasized into a series of protests nationwide? We might remember what happened in Gaza City in July 2021 after an explosion at the Al-Awiya market are, killed one person, and wounded at least 14, including five children. The blast turned out to have been caused by the careless detonation of weapons by Hamas. For a while it seemed that popular fury at Hamas might develop into a sustained popular protest, but in the end the anger petered out, and Hamas weathered that particular storm.
This time, after the drowning deaths of eight desperate Palestinians trying to escape the misery of Gaza, will a “rebellion of the mothers” spread in the Strip the way the “woman, life, freedom” protests spread so remarkably in Iran? Or will Hamas brazen it out, promise a few cosmetic reforms, keep the bereaved mothers from organizing, and remain on top in Gaza?