Not only are some 1.5 million Gaza residents living like prisoners in the largest jail in the world, but they are also subjected to daily attacks by Israel that leave them with more dead to bury. Two children were killed on Tuesday, and not only those suspected of firing Qassam rockets. And if there's no shelling, there's a short-term incursion, and dozens of people are arrested and undergo a day-long campaign of humiliation.
There are also murders by fellow Palestinians, though fewer than during Fatah rule. But the vendetta cycle continues to be a threat. Fatah members were arrested and tortured, and a Fatah supporter's wedding was raided by Hamas gunmen.
The economy has been completely paralyzed for two months now. Tens of thousands of private-sector workers have not made even NIS 100 in the past two months. There is zero export because the Karni crossing is closed. This situation will continue for a long time if Israel's attitude toward Hamas remains as is.
When replacement parts for the ruined purification facility pumps are not brought into Gaza, another sewage flooding disaster is liable to occur. The electricity was cut off because the European Union is concerned that Hamas is diverting money intended for the private power station in Gaza and isn't paying for the fuel. Heaps of garbage are piled up in the crowded areas of Khan Yunis, Gaza City and Jabalya. Residents burn the garbage when it isn't removed, producing clouds of foul-smelling toxins.
The municipal workers haven't been paid since January, and are on strike. On the other hand, there are tens of thousands of police officers and public-sector workers who aren't showing up for work on orders from the government in Ramallah, but are still receiving their meager paychecks. There are people who work but aren't getting paid because they were appointed during the Hamas period. Someone informs on his neighbor, who's continuing to work as a police officer, and Ramallah immediately fires the policeman. The informing and the fear of it are breaking this society apart from the inside.
The big fear now is what will happen when the school year begins. The Ramallah government has given an order that the weekend is Friday and Saturday, but the Gaza government decided that it's Thursday and Friday. Anyone who works on Saturday has his salary frozen, and anyone who works on Thursday fears that Hamas will harass him. In most government ministries, the solution is a three-day weekend. But schools can't do that, and some fear that the battle between Hamas and Fatah will express itself in new ways, on the backs of the students and teachers.
The residents of Gaza are torn between too many authorities: Israel, the occupier that shirks its obligation as an occupying power; the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, which is abandoning its citizens while continuing to try to ostracize the majority movement and make it fail; Hamas, which boasted about "liberating" Gaza and uses Qassam fire and declarations of "resistance" to escape its political and economic failures; the donor states, which use (generous) donations to cover up political powerlessness; and the United States, which is leading the boycott campaign and supports Israel.
This multiplicity is confusing, paralyzing. It's no wonder that in the meantime, Gaza is getting ready for the next blow.
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