Citizen journalism in Gaza

10 Aug

As I have said before, the isolation of Hamas by the West can only cause the further deterioration of the situation in Gaza. As Anthony Lowenstein wrote and note in this ground zero mission piece, ‘Islamization is undoubtedly growing in the Strip’. This is perhaps to be expected given Hamas is likely to see few benefits in trying to engage with the West when it has constantly been shunned. As it is, Haniyeh has stopped giving media interviews.

What you have in Gaza is a situation getting increasingly more desperate and out of control. The infighting between Fatah and Hamas coupled with the increasing isolation of Hamas meant the latter has to resort to more repressive means to keep Gazan society functioning. The economic blockade is slowly suffocating and killing the people whose means of survival and access to healthcare is reduced to tatters. It is not only a forgotten city but also fast becoming a dytopian society of the future. We need to keep up the pressure for Israel and the world to do something on Gaza and its people. Lowenstein’s prophetic closing is a stark remainder of the cruelty of the occupation… …

Gaza is unlike anywhere on earth. I regularly sat near the beach overlooking the ocean, sipping a cool fruit drink. The stylishly appointed bar at the hotel where I was staying could easily have been at some fancy resort elsewhere in the Mediterranean. It was designed for a tourist industry that no longer comes and an elite that now thrives on property ownership and the tunnel-smuggling industry. Just outside the hotel, however, stand an ever-increasing number of beggars amid rubbish-strewn streets, not far from the destroyed parliament building.

Many Gazans think the world, including the Arab states, has forgotten them. Egypt’s role in maintaining the siege was constantly damned by the people I talked to. Israeli behavior, while terrible and universally condemned, was better understood than that of their Arab neighbor. People expressed fear of Iran despite its public support for Hamas. The Islamic Republic’s strict clerical rule simply does not appeal to Gazans, who need more than rhetorical support. The world community has yet to deliver.


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