No End in Sight: Hamas Leaders Refuse to Aid Gaza

GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 20: Palestinian Hamas militants are seen during a military show in the Bani Suheila district on July 20, 2017 in Gaza City, Gaza. For the past ten years Gaza residents have lived with constant power shortages, in recent years these cuts have worsened, with supply of regular power limited to four hours a day. On June 11, 2017 Israel announced a new round of cuts at the request of the Palestinian authorities and the decision was seen as an attempt by President Mahmoud Abbas to pressure Gaza's Hamas leadership. Prior to the new cuts Gaza received 150 megawatts per day, far below it's requirements of 450 megawatts. In April, Gaza's sole power station which supplied 60 megawatts shut down, after running out of fuel, the three lines from Egypt, which provided 27 megawatts are rarely operational, leaving Gaza reliant on the 125 megawatts supplied by Israel's power plant. The new cuts now restrict electricity to three hours a day severely effecting hospital patients with chronic conditions and babies on life support. During blackout hours residents use private generators, solar panels and battery operated light sources to live. June 2017 also marked ten years since Israel began a land, sea and air blockade over Gaza. Under the blockade, movement of people and goods is restricted and exports and imports of raw materials have been banned. The restrictions have virtually cut off access for Gaza's two million residents to the outside world and unemployment rates have skyrocketed forcing many people into poverty and leaving approximately 80% of the population dependent on humanitarian aid. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The recent 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas may have come to an uneasy ceasefire, but the underlying issues and motivations for the violence are far from resolved. In an exclusive interview with the New York Times, leaders of Hamas openly revealed their true intentions for Gaza: an ongoing state of war with Israel to rally Arab support and keep the Palestinian cause alive.

According to Hamas leaders Khalil al-Hayya and Taher El-Nounou, governing Gaza and building institutions for a Palestinian state were not even considerations for the militant group. Instead, they have been focused on “changing the entire equation” and maintaining a constant state of conflict. This approach, they believe, will draw Arab nations to their cause and force the international community to pay attention to their demands.

The idea of a peaceful resolution or improving the lives of Palestinians living in Gaza seems to be of no interest to Hamas. As El-Nounou boldly stated, “This battle was not because we wanted fuel or laborers. It did not seek to improve the situation in Gaza. This battle is to completely overthrow the situation.”

The Times article also sheds light on some of the grievances that Hamas has against Israel. However, these claims must be taken with a grain of salt as they are presented in a biased and euphemistic manner. The Times reported that Jews were trying to pray at the Temple Mount, but failed to mention that it is also the holiest site in Judaism and has been under Muslim control since the 7th century. Similarly, they stated that the Israeli police “stormed” the Aqsa Mosque, conveniently leaving out the fact that it was being used by Hamas and other militant groups as a weapons storage facility.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has also had significant implications for the region. Before the eruption of violence, Saudi Arabia and Israel were reportedly in talks for a peace and normalization agreement that would have been tied to improving conditions for Palestinians. This deal would have likely focused on economic improvements and infrastructure development, rather than the creation of a Palestinian state.

However, with tensions once again escalating, it seems that any progress towards peace will be put on hold. Hamas’ clear disregard for the well-being and sovereignty of Palestinians, as well as their stated goal of constant conflict with Israel, makes it difficult to see a peaceful resolution in the near future.

In conclusion, while the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas provides a temporary reprieve from the violence, the underlying issues and motivations must be addressed in order to achieve lasting peace. It is important for the international community to hold Hamas accountable for their actions and to continue to work towards improving conditions for Palestinians living in Gaza. Only by addressing the root causes of the conflict can we hope to see a lasting resolution and an end to the suffering of innocent civilians on both sides.

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