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Life Under Hamas: Gauging Gaza’s Living Standards



Life Under Hamas

In August 2005, the last Israeli departed from the Gaza Strip during Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza. Following this departure, the Hamas organization took control. Over the years, Hamas has invested billions in developing rockets, digging tunnels intended for attack, and orchestrating riots at the border fence. They’ve encouraged Gaza citizens to release balloons and kites to attempt igniting fires on the Israeli side.

In 2007, when Hamas seized power, the quality of life in Gaza was comparable to that in Judea and Samaria. However, 14 years later, the average standard of living for a Palestinian in the West Bank is 2.5 times higher than that of a Palestinian in the Gaza Strip, as per reviews conducted by the World Bank. These reviews highlight that until 2006/2007, Gaza’s economic growth outpaced that of the West Bank. Post the internal split, ongoing conflicts, and lockdowns, Gaza’s growth has steadily decelerated compared to the West Bank.

The real GDP per capita in Gaza declined by 1.5% annually, while in contrast, the West Bank’s GDP increased by 3% per year during the same period.

(Hamas’s leader Yehya Sinwar enjoying his life)

The disparity worsened as Hamas’s hold on the Gaza Strip tightened. Between 2015, following Zuk Eitan, and 2020, when Covid emerged, economic activity in the Palestinian territories expanded by 20%. Conversely, the Gaza Strip’s economy contracted by at least another 10%. This contraction occurred despite substantial international aid for rehabilitation, totaling about 3 billion dollars. Despite this aid, the entire Civil Government Mechanism was financed by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah’s budget. Consequently, the deficit funding for public employees’ salaries in Gaza—including doctors, teachers, clerks, and, indirectly, the heads of the Hamas terror organization—falls entirely upon the Palestinians living in the West Bank, fostering a complete lack of sympathy from them.

70% of Gaza’s citizens hold an official status of “Palestinian refugees,” entitling them to support from UNRWA, a unique UN organization dedicated to assisting Palestinian refugees. Even after this assistance and additional funds from Qatar—amounting to close to 200 million dollars—half of Gaza’s population lives below the international poverty threshold, defined by an income of 5.5 dollars per day per person. By the end of Q4 of 2020, the unemployment rate in Gaza soared to 43% of the workforce, compared to a 15% unemployment rate in the West Bank.

(Hamas’s leadership living in luxury)

So, what transpired with the leaders of Hamas during their control of the Gaza Strip?

After their violent usurpation and ascent to power in 2007, Hamas’s budget surged from 150 million dollars to 894 million dollars within seven years. They also accumulated a deficit of 700 million dollars, primarily due to the closure of tunnels between Rafiah and Sinai. During this time, the number of salaried positions within the Hamas government skyrocketed from 5,000 to 45,000.

Tunnel activity facilitated the transfer of weapons, rockets, and also food, medicine, cigarettes, animals, cars, and drugs. Some tunnels had pipes used for transporting fuel, cement, and other construction materials. This led to the emergence of a nouveau riche class in the Strip, profiting from the handling of goods passing through the tunnels, with Hamas leaders reaping the most benefits. This, in turn, drove up real estate prices. The elevated standard of living was particularly noticeable among the organization heads residing in Qatar. For instance, Khaled Mashal, the head of the state department, lives in a fine house in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The Hamas movement funds his lavish lifestyle there, enabling him to travel in private jets and stay in luxury hotels worldwide. The Hamas leaders residing in Gaza live in far more luxurious homes compared to the average Gaza civilian.

It’s evident that the Hamas movement, initially gaining popularity for its stance against the personal corruption of Fatah leaders and perceived as caring for the vulnerable segments of society, is now seen as detached from the populace that once supported them. The leaders of Hamas redirected funds intended for the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip towards constructing assault tunnels and securing the movement’s members. If even a fraction of the resources allocated to tunnel construction were invested in the populace, at least the sewage problem in Gaza could have been addressed.

Infrastructure remains a fundamental issue in Gaza, encompassing sewage, water, and electricity. A significant water crisis persists in Gaza; 98% of households lack access to running tap water, compelling them to purchase water (at a considerably high price) from private tanks—a situation not present in the West Bank.

Electricity is another challenge. The electricity supplied from Israel, combined with the 40 watts produced independently, falls short of meeting the population’s needs. Military sources reveal that in areas where Hamas’ headquarters are located, electricity is available 24/7. They reroute the electricity to ensure a constant supply, allowing the workshops manufacturing rockets to operate continuously despite these challenges.

Can this situation be reversed? According to the World Bank, the answer is affirmative: “An economic recovery of the Gaza Strip hinges on the existence of a private business sector capable of operating and competing in international and regional markets.” Their unequivocal conclusion states, “Effective control of the Palestinian Authority over the Gaza Strip is a necessary and insurmountable condition for their economic rehabilitation. The status quo isn’t sustainable.”

Under Hamas’s regime, prospects for industrial investments in the Gaza Strip or the development of a private, local, or business sector are bleak. The heads of Hamas, capable of comprehending economic reports, fully understand the economic and social quagmire they’ve plunged the Gaza Strip into. The international community is urging them to relinquish control to the National Palestinian Authority.

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Hamas Tactics: A Cycle of Violence That Needs to End





Hamas Terrorists. Credit: ‘כאן חדשות’ FB page

Over time, Hamas has honed techniques designed to do maximum damage while preserving its assets and troops. The latest deadly fighting in Gaza between Israel and Hamas has once again shown Hamas’s complicated and disturbing tactical methods. 

Hamas is applying military lessons from previous conflicts. The organization researches Israeli capabilities and weaknesses and incorporates their findings to optimize and perfect their method. Hamas used deception as a base for many of their military tactics. In Gaza, mock structures resembling Israeli settlements have been constructed as training grounds for terrorists to rehearse simulated attacks. Fake social media profiles and altered films offer a false sense of security, allowing Israel to relax its watch. Economic incentives for workers fund military preparedness. These techniques are designed to fool Israeli intelligence services and conceal Hamas’s genuine capabilities and goals.

Terror tunnel networks provide for covert movement and supply connections. Hamas tactics include urban warfare strategies, ambushes, IEDs, snipers, and hit-and-run provocations. The terror tunnel networks also have a psychological impact since they keep Israeli troops constantly guessing when and where potential future attacks and kidnappings can occur.

A tunnel built by Hamas

A tunnel built by Hamas to penetrate Israel. Credit: ‘ישראלים מצייצים’ FB page.

Human shields are yet another contentious Hamas strategy. Hamas utilizes the population of Gaza as a shield from Israeli counter-attacks by operating and hiding weapons in heavily populated civilian areas. Using civilian homes for weapon storage, building their terror tunnels underneath schools, and even creating rocket launching sites in hospitals and cemeteries. This shows their complete lack of respect for their dead and ensures civilian losses, which Hamas will subsequently use to sway public opinion against Israel. Similarly, the group’s tactic of kidnapping Israeli troops and holding them prisoner underground has frequently put the captives’ lives in jeopardy during Israeli rescue efforts.

These tactics alter a conflict’s dynamics. Israel, or any other moral, democratic nation, must use restraint in its actions due to ethical concerns over civilian losses. However, this merely gives Hamas greater leeway to continue its deadly provocations. With the desire to weaken Hamas’ capabilities, heavy blows on a regular basis are in order. However, these attacks’ high toll on innocent people fuels more radicalism. Conversely, doing nothing would allow Hamas to build up its weapons and undertake increasingly lethal assaults over time.

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Israel Palestine War




IDF Tank and helicopter. Credit: Nitsan Saddan

IDF Tank and helicopter. Credit: Nitsan Saddan

Hamas Launches Another Attack

In the early hours of October 7th, 2023, Hamas, a Palestinian group based in Gaza, initiated a new round of conflict. They employed an extensive barrage of thousands of rockets, advanced technology, and aggressive tactics to breach Israel’s heavily fortified border. This attack targeted both military installations and civilian areas, including a music festival where thousands had gathered. The death toll continues to rise, with thousands losing their lives. Hamas also took over 200 people hostage, including civilians including children, soldiers, and foreigners visiting Israel. Tragically, individuals from at least 36 different nationalities are either dead or missing.

Childrens bedroom after being attacked by Hamas on Oct 7th. Credit: סמדר תל חי FB page.

Childrens bedroom after being attacked by Hamas on Oct 7th. Credit: סמדר תל חי FB page.

Hamas’s Motivation

Hamas’s motives for the attack were numerous and multifaceted: the terrorist group aimed to boost their anti-Israel credentials and relevance in the region; relieve domestic pressure coming from Gazans who were fed up with Hamas’ corrupt, inhumane, and incompetent rule; and finally, the October 7th Massacre was Hamas’s attempt to revive sympathy for the Palestinian cause amongst the international community through a deliberately false, and manipulative public relations campaign focused on establishing a false moral equivalence between the Army of the State of Israel and a terrorist organisation who slaughters innocent men, women, and children apparent glee. The question of why Hamas chose to launch this attack now is complex, with historical, geographical, religious, political, and power dynamics at play. We’re here to break it down for you.

Hamas’s Control of Gaza

Hamas, a terrorist group that has been involved in acts of violence, recently took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Under their rule, LGBTQ+ Palestinians face persecution, and public music is banned. It’s essential to note that Israel, despite its conflicts with Hamas, has been a significant source of energy, food, and medical supplies for Gaza’s residents.

History of Gaza


Gaza Strip – on the left. Credit: CBS News’s FB page.

Israel’s control of Gaza has a history that dates back to the 1967 Six-Day War. However, in 2005, under the leadership of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Israel withdrew its soldiers from Gaza and evacuated over 5,000 Israelis. Unfortunately, the transition to Gazan self-government faced challenges, as Palestinian looters stripped and destroyed infrastructure left behind by the Israelis.

Hamas’s Escalations

Since Israel’s withdrawal, Hamas has engaged in a series of provocations, often marked by rocket attacks on Israeli cities and the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006. Shalit remained a hostage for five years.

Recent Mass Hostage-Taking

Hamas’s recent large-scale capture of hostages has raised concerns about their use as human shields, a tactic Hamas has used to protect its military and political assets. The hostages may face additional abuse and torture.

Perspective from Palestinians

From a Palestinian perspective, the brutality displayed by Hamas is not new, as many Palestinians have suffered under their rule since 2007.

The Road Ahead

In the coming days and weeks, there will likely be significant repercussions for Hamas, and innocent Palestinian lives hang in the balance. Israel is taking steps to secure the release of its people. It’s important to distinguish the actions of Hamas from the broader Palestinian population.

A Call for Gaza’s Liberation

Many Palestinians believe that Gaza’s liberation from the grip of Hamas is long overdue and hope for a resolution to this ongoing conflict.

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Education in the Gaza Strip




Kids in Gaza

Kids in Gaza. Credit: I love Allah’s FB page

According to several studies conducted by various human rights organizations, a review of Palestinian school textbooks and curricula reveals a number of human rights violations.  Recurring topics include the rejection of the State of Israel and denial of its right to exist, the demonization and incitement of violence against Jews, and a downplay of peace advocacy in favor of incitement. These schools have been inciting three generations of young Palestinians to hate and kill Jews, to revere martyrs and aspire to jihad. Parents of current students have been educated in the same schools, as have many of the 30,000 teachers employed by UNRWA.  Perhaps most importantly, the education curriculum teaches that the so-called Palestinian Right of Return is to be achieved by war. Under Hamas, Gaza’s educational system, which is heavily impacted by political allegiances and local disputes, faces a challenging environment. In order to steer the children of Gaza toward a more promising educational future, it is imperative that we comprehend the subtleties of this scenario.

Hamas’s Influence on Education

Kids in the Gaza Strip

Kids in Gaza strip. Credit: Avihai Shorshan’a FB  Page

Since its founding in 1987, Hamas, a strong political and militant organization, has had a considerable impact on Gaza’s educational landscape. The group’s goal of spreading its ideals and values, which are based on political and religious convictions, has permanently altered the educational environment. The son of a Hamas founder, Mosab Yousef, offers a distinctive viewpoint on the brainwashing that takes place within the educational system. He explains how youngsters are indoctrinated with the idea that, in order to establish an Islamic state, innocent people must be killed. Such instruction has a significant psychological effect on young Gazans, which raises questions about their early exposure to extreme beliefs.

 Moreover, Yousef highlights the lack of choice for the children of Gaza, emphasizing how they are shaped by the ideologies fed to them. This underscores the pervasive influence that Hamas has on the educational narrative, limiting the intellectual freedom of students and narrowing their worldview.

What Do Palestinian Children Actually Learn in School?

A new study of Palestinian textbooks finds that Palestinian children are being taught to glorify and value terrorism and violence. The study, called “Palestinian Elementary School Curriculum 2016–17: Radicalization and Revival of the PLO Program,” was conducted by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education. To an even greater extent than the 2014–15 textbooks, the curriculum teaches students to be martyrs and denies the existence of Israel and focuses on a “return” to an exclusively Palestinian homeland. 

According to the report, within the pages of the textbooks children are taught to be expendable. Messages such as: “the volcano of my revenge”; “the longing of my blood for my land”; and “I shall sacrifice my blood to saturate the land” suffuse the curriculum. Math books use numbers of dead martyrs to teach arithmetic. The vision of an Arab Palestine includes the entirety of what is now Israel, defined as the “1948 Occupied Territories.”

This is not the way to prepare children for peace. For example, here is how the grade 4 math textbook teaches math:

The number of martyrs of the First Intifada during 1987–93 totaled 2026 martyrs, and the number of martyrs of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Intifada in the year 2000 totaled 5,050 martyrs while the number of the wounded reached 49,760. How many martyrs died in the two Intifadas.

The following are more examples of the incitement, antisemitism, and violence found and promoted in Palestinian curricula:

In a fifth grade textbook provided by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of education, while teaching Arabic reading comprehension to girls, an entire chapter is dedicated to praising the martyr Dalal al-Mughrabi , who led a team of terrorists in the massacre of 38 Israelis, including 13 children, in 1978. She is glamorized and draped in the Palestinian flag.

According to a March 2023 report by UN Watch, teachers and schools at the UN agency that runs education and social services for Palestinians regularly call for the  murder of Jews, and create teaching materials that glorify terrorism, encourage martyrdom, demonize Israelis and incite antisemitism. For example, in September 2022, 5th-graders at a school in Gaza were taught to admire as a “martyr” and “hero” Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassem, the namesake of Hamas’ military wing, who had preached the murder of Jews. On November 20, 2022, photos of a classroom blackboard from Social Studies class in the 5th grade Class 9 of the fifth grade show a map labeled Palestine. The map includes the State of Israel – a UN member state, and marks areas and cities in Israel such as Haifa, Jaffa, Acre, and Beersheba as part of Palestine. In December 2022, the report found that an Arabic reading comprehension exercise for 9th graders celebrated a Palestinian firebombing attack on a Jewish bus as a “barbecue party.”

Another text taught to 9th-graders at the school posted in December 2022, demonized Israelis as sadistic predators looking for prey by teaching reading comprehension using graphic descriptions of Israelis brutally murdering Palestinians in entirely fictional stories. A “Zionist officer” deliberately shoots to death a Palestinian fisherman in front of his son in Gaza for being late to shore. The graphic text describes a “fountain of blood bursting from his chest.” In addition, 5th-graders at the school learned that martyrdom and jihad are “the most important meanings of life” through an exercise practicing vocabulary and grammar in Arabic language Learning material posted in September 2022.

A Palestinian social studies lesson posted in September 2022 instilled in 9th-grade students the message that “armed struggle” against Israel is a “divine right.” Another September 2022 9th grade social studies text spreads antisemitic propaganda by teaching the libel that Israel infects Palestinians with cancer by dumping toxic waste in the West Bank and Gaza. 

Asma Middle School for Girls B encouraged schoolgirls to liberate the homeland by sacrificing “their Blood” and pursuing jihad.  UNRWA-created Arabic language material posted in September 2022 for the 6th grade includes an exercise promoting sacrificing one’s life—“the most precious thing” a person has—for the homeland as an obligation and to sacrifice “their blood.”  A  grammar exercise states that “I will commit jihad to liberate the homeland” and “I will not give up a centimeter of my land.” The last sentence further indicates students are taught to reject any territorial compromise with Israel.

However, Hamas’s indoctrination of violence is not limited to the classroom and textbooks. The sae report found that Palestinian summer camps were, in some ways worse than the schools. In these summer camps, children are trained to be soldiers, a clear violation of international law.

By teaching the glorification of terrorism and violence, as well as the demonization of Jews, both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have ensured a generations of antisemitic terrorists who believe anything is justified in order for a so-called glorious return to Palestine, instead of a new generation of leaders who prioritize the prosperity of ordinary Palestinians over the total destruction of the Jewish State of Israel. Unfortunately, we have now witnessed the horrific results of this violent, anti semitic education on October 7th.  

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