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What is Wrong with Gaza?

About ten days or so, the Middle East scholar Micah Halpern (micahhalpern.com) spoke at an Israel Bonds Dinner we had; he was articulate and most impressive! Later that week, I share some of the comments he made at our synagogue:

One Year After Gaza
By Micah Halpern

Saturday June 14, 2008

I’ve Been Thinking:

Today is the first anniversary of the Hamas coup in Gaza.
One year since Hamas emerged victorious over Fatah in Gaza.
Unlike many anniversaries, this anniversary is worth noting.
Hamas, of course, will be celebrating.

Some interesting statistics about Gaza:
70% of Gazans would prefer to live anywhere in the world, just not in Gaza
70% of Gazans are on welfare
60% of Gazans earn less than $2 dollars a day

Gaza is a dictatorship.
Gaza has no industry and Hamas does not govern.
Gazans live entirely on handouts from abroad, with the most significant allocations coming from Iran.

Gaza was never the lap of luxury.
Gaza under Hamas is the epitome of squalor.
Until Hamas is ousted that will not change.

Now, after Micah spoke, a couple of days later I decided to join a blog discussion (http://radarsite.blogspot.com/2008/06/from-other-sites-on-line-9-jun-08.html) on the problem of Gaza; here are some common sense approaches proposed by a number of people I encountered. Please note what they say concerning the dilemma that we are faced with in Gaza:

alis said…
The trouble is that it falls on deaf ears. Gaza could be a world class seaport, but that would mean spending money to develop it instead of weapons. Gaza could have been growing their own food (enough to have exports), but that would have meant not destroying the greenhouses that the Israelis left.

It seems to me that Hamas is forcing the people of Gaza to cut off their noses to spite their faces. Hamas has no vision for the future except in further war with Israel. That’s the real racism here. The hatred Hamas has for Israel is destroying the people of Gaza.

Roger W. Gardner said…
Unfortunately, you’re absolutely right. And this is a racism that the whole world — or at least a good part of it, including our own Democratic Party — seems quite content to just ignore.

Rabbi Michael Samuel said…
Regarding findalis and R. Gardner’s astute comments,

Hamas routinely shoots missiles into Israel and complains about the Israeli response.

To what is this matter like? Imagine a young man who murders his parents, and begs the judge to be easy with him: “Have mercy, your Honor, after all, I am an orphan.”

Rabbi Michael Samuel