Economic woes behind new unrest in Gaza
By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer Tue Nov 13, 2:06 PM ET
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - The backdrop to the latest explosion of violence in the Gaza Strip: skeletons of unfinished apartment towers, shuttered factories, empty store shelves and skyrocketing prices for bread and cigarettes.
Five months of rule by the Islamic militants of Hamas and isolation from the world have taken a heavy toll on the already impoverished territory, and frustration over the hardship helped drive this week's mass rally by the rival Fatah movement that ended in mayhem.
The group showed its willingness to use considerable force to stay in power when Hamas police opened fire during Monday's rally of more than 250,000 people. By the end of the day, seven civilians were dead and 85 wounded. Hamas then rounded up 400 Fatah activists overnight and threatened "additional steps" against its bitter enemy.
Economic decline has been rapid since Hamas seized Gaza by force in June and Israel closed the territory's borders in an unprecedented lockdown. Most factories have closed, tens of thousands lost their jobs and exports and most imports are frozen.
Roughly 75 percent of the 1.5 million Gazans now live in poverty, up more than 10 points from the summer, according to Palestinian government officials in the West Bank.
Haven't we been told over and over again, ad nauseum, that the root causes of terrorism was severe poverty, hopelessness, desparation and lack of opportunity ? This story has it all. The Gazans are living an impoverished, dismal and oppressed life. So shouldn't we be seeing Gazan suicide bombers attacking Hamas? Shouldn't we be seeing Gazans firing Kassam rockets at Hamas?