Opinion

Gazans speak out: Hamas’s warmongering keeps us oppressed and poor

“It’s forbidden to say you don’t want war.”

A pro-Hamas rally in the city of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Oct. 27, 2022. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
A pro-Hamas rally in the city of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Oct. 27, 2022. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
James Sinkinson
James Sinkinson
James Sinkinson is president of Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which publishes educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship to the United States.

A recently released series of videos—”Whispered in Gaza,” produced by the Center for Peace Communications—features heartbreaking testimonials from Gaza residents, who expose their tragic suffering.

These besieged, ordinary Gazans give voice to the fact that the ruling Hamas terrorist regime is one of the world’s harshest and most unsympathetic dictatorships.

The voices of these desperate citizens—who spoke only on condition of anonymity—should serve as a wake-up call for anyone who sympathizes with the Palestinian cause in general and the brutal Hamas faction in particular.

These testimonials confirm facts about the Hamas regime that are often ignored by the mainstream press under Hamas’s threat of reprisal against foreign journalists.

Above all, a close look at conditions in Gaza reinforces the reality that Hamas leaders’ primary concern is not freedom for the Palestinian people, but rather maintaining an iron grip over their powerless subjects.

To ensure its absolute rule, Hamas deprives Gaza residents of all semblance of individual and social freedoms, using torture, imprisonment and murder as weapons.

Adding to Hamas’s authoritarian oppression are the terrible living conditions its people suffer, brought about by the group’s dedication to jihad at the expense of their society’s economic health.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media and international community have generally ignored Hamas’s warmongering—preferring instead to blame Israel for any violence and the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza.

Nonetheless, facing a preponderance of evidence, most media have been forced to reveal that every few years Hamas starts wars against Israel without provocation—not to “liberate Palestine” as they claim—but as a means to burnish the group’s reputation with the “Palestinian street.”

However, their strategy doesn’t always work: One of the “Whispered in Gaza” interviewees revealed that, “If you’re a Gazan citizen who opposes war, and says, ‘I don’t want war,’ you’re branded a traitor. It’s forbidden to say you don’t want war.”

It’s also well known that Hamas usually targets Israeli civilians with their missiles, which is a war crime. Likewise, the world has long been aware of Hamas’s tactic of launching rockets from residential areas and school sites, using their citizens as human shields—also a war crime.

What Americans have heard even less about from Western media is Hamas’s cruelty to its people—curtailing their civil rights and harshly punishing them for any infractions.

The group Human Rights Watch reports that Hamas in Gaza “have in recent years carried out scores of arbitrary arrests for peaceful criticism of the authorities, particularly on social media, among independent journalists, on university campuses and at demonstrations.”

An anonymous Whisperer on video confides, “It’s forbidden to speak freely in Gaza.”

According to the UN Watch organization, Hamas regularly “torture[s] human rights activists, women, LGBT persons, political opponents, so-called ‘collaborators,’ and Palestinians who sell land to Jews.”

HRW says the torture practiced by Hamas “may amount to a crime against humanity, given its systemic practice over many years.”

Of course, Hamas is not answerable to Gazan citizens for its brutal oppression, since the U.S.- and European Union-designated terror group has not held elections since 2006.

While friends of Hamas enjoy accusing Israel of making Gaza “an open-air prison,” in truth Hamas is responsible for what ReliefWeb calls the “unbearable” living situation of most Gazans.

Moody’s Analytics service reports that “Under Hamas control, Gaza has suffered from rising unemployment, elevated poverty rates and a sharp contraction of the private sector.”

What’s more, Hamas’s irresponsible military adventures against Israel have inevitably led to massive destruction of residential areas—where missile launchers are invariably sited—and of public infrastructure, such as water processing and electricity production.

No wonder one Whisperer complains, “Hamas leaders hide safely in their hideouts and bunkers while ordinary Gazans get injured and killed by Israel’s retaliation for attacks on its citizens.”

Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth. WebRelief estimates that 80% of its 2.1 million people are dependent on humanitarian relief and that 70% of young people are unemployed.

One major reason for this economic failure is the land and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip, enforced by Egypt and Israel in response to Hamas’s constant belligerence.

Motivating Hamas’s attacks on Israel is the group’s Charter, which calls for Islamic-inspired jihad—the killing of Jews and the liberation of “all of Palestine” using violent means.

Despite Gaza’s bankruptcy and its dependence on financial infusions from Iran, the Hamas regime spares no expense in manufacturing increasingly sophisticated missiles for attacking Israel. The group also funds its war efforts by imposing oppressive taxes on its impoverished citizens.

As one Whisperer notes, “Hamas makes it very difficult for anyone trying to make a living. Gazans are taxed heavily, nepotism abounds.”

It’s inevitable that the next time Hamas believes it is losing ground to its political rivals—or credibility with the “Palestinian street”—it will start a war with Israel. Western politicians will just as certainly decry the region’s “cycle of violence” and demand calm from both parties.

However, in truth, the fate of Gaza is in Hamas’s hands. While Hamas is free to declare peace—and Israel would certainly welcome it—the terror group believes it is on a holy mission to rid Islamic lands of Jewish invaders.

While against all evidence Hamas sympathizers blame Israel for Gaza’s plight, most Gazans surely understand who is really to blame. As one Whisperer put it, “I want Gaza to be liberated from the government of Hamas.”

James Sinkinson is president of Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which publishes educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship to the United States.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates