I am Palestinian. Just because I happened to be born in America, due to my family who decided to flee their homeland following the 6 day war with Israel, I am sitting here. Waiting. Stuck in Al-Arish, 20 kilometers from the Rafah/Gaza border, for 10 days now waiting to get permission to enter Gaza.As usual, this call will be drowned out by those who obsessively want to blame Israel for everything, because the very idea of a Jewish state in the Middle East causes them to froth at the mouth.
Their rules for entry are unclear and confusing and with no reason given – I have been denied permission to enter Gaza. I have been denied entry NOT by the Israelis. NOT by the US government. NOT by the relentless Egyptian military who has refused to loosen the Rafah border one bit, since the great Egyptian revolution. I have been denied entry by the Gaza gov’t, Hamas – who has slowly and steadily been tightening their grip on the strip, and increasing in power and repression Daily – while under international blockade!
With such overwhelming odds such as an international blockade making it extremely difficult to rule, I felt it was important to give the Hamas government a chance to prove themselves. But not only has the “Palestinian parliament, which has a large Hamas majority, not convened” their “term effectively ended in January 2010, so it currently lacks constitutional legitimacy”1. Repeatedly, they reveal their true intention in one thing and one thing only – getting and keeping power and control over their lil fiefdom.
In providing some hope, their are those daring to speak out, such as Gaza Youth Break Out (GYBO) who wrote the Gaza Manifesto. But many of the youth have been targeted and imprisoned by the Gaza authorities, for doing so. It’s fine for those in solidarity to blame Israel and US to a certain point, then it is up to Palestine activists everywhere to draw attention and highlight this fact. We can no longer remain silent, the youth of Gaza need our support for opposing such oppression!
It seems clear that Hamas is the next link in the chain of the victim becoming the oppressor. When will activists, rise up and start calling out the abuse of power, control and oppression from WITHIN Gaza?! It is up to us to FIRST stop building our own chains, that snakes and binds itself around our communities, and those who should be our most natural allies. And, if it is not stopped now – their grip on power will only grow stronger and more cemented in place making it much more difficult in the future.
In other words, it is old fashioned anti-semitism that is hurting ordinary Palestinian Arabs more than anything else. It is the visceral and absurd hate of Israel that makes Arab governments reject naturalization of Palestinian Arabs as citizens; it is the irrational hate of Jews in power that ensures that Arabs cannot support true compromise with Israel and move on; it is the Arab inability to accept that the historic dhimmis have power and aren't going away that forces them to keep trying to make every battle an all-or-nothing, zero-sum game where the Jewish state is used an an excuse to keep millions of people in perpetual limbo - purportedly for their own good. Creating generation after generation filled with venom has been the Arab strategy of dealing with Israel, if not in this century then in the next.
And as much as I sympathize with this writer, my guess is that he is still part of the problem. The people who are against Hamas and who created the Gaza Manifesto don't seem to accept Israel's existence any more than they are thrilled with Hamas' duplicity. And until a new group rises up that understands that the all-or-nothing option is never going to happen, and moreover that there are plenty of Israelis who would be happy to extend their own hands in friendship towards Arabs who don't want to see them all dead, then I am afraid that Gaza's youth will remain forever angry.