World News


A Better Future for Gaza

The Gaza Strip has always been viewed as a tiny enclave, sandwiched between the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, and Israel, and home to two million Palestinians living in one of the most densely crowded places on Earth.

But as we look at current events and Israel’s efforts to destroy Hamas, it is becoming clear to decision-makers and experts that what Gaza was cannot – and does not need – to be what was.

Gaza can and should undergo a fundamental change that will offer the Palestinians a better and brighter future with plenty of opportunity and much less violence and oppression. Much can be accomplished even before dealing with the larger conflict with Israel.

For this to occur, the first order of the day, rightfully so, is to remove Hamas and its ability to govern the Palestinian people. Under Hamas rule, women were not free to move about at will and often, Hamas implemented Sharia law, which forbade anything resembling Western culture, such as music, movies, and certain clothing styles. For years, people needed to first obtain permission from Hamas to leave Gaza and travel.

With Hamas not in power, a more moderate Palestinian entity should rule Gaza, taking care of the civil needs of residents, while allowing people personal and political freedoms.

Food and shelter are the next main issues that need to be dealt with and resolved immediately.

Food stores, shops, and markets will need to return to normal function to ensure the population remains well-fed and has access to whatever it needs.

Housing is a major issue and since it may take years to rebuild some destroyed areas, it may be necessary to bring in thousands of prefabricated homes to accommodate the 1.5 million refugees.

Banks and money services will need to begin functioning again so that the population has the resources it needs to live a normal daily life.

Education, which until now was operated by UNRWA, will now fall under the purview of whatever entity controls Gaza. Since Israel will likely disallow UNRWA from operating further in Gaza after claims of alleged complicity with Hamas terrorists, Palestinians will need to find a new source to provide textbooks and education materials, which until now have propagated anti-Israel and pro-Hamas views – hardly conducive to raising a generation of peace-loving youth.

One place to start could be the United Arab Emirates or even Saudi Arabia, where school textbooks have been toned down in their criticism of Israel and now include messages of peace and hope for the Middle East.

The Biden administration should lead a renewed effort to raise serious funds from the international community to rebuild Gaza and rehabilitate its citizens. Companies can unite and build factories and office buildings to help provide jobs for the mostly unemployed Gaza men and women.

Most if not all Palestinians will need copious amounts of therapy and healing after the war is over, but services are lacking. The international community must band together and find a way to help and provide social and mental health services by establishing clinics and staffing them with experienced professionals.

The Palestinians themselves will also need to decide for themselves what type of future they desire. Their many grievances should not be whitewashed and there is no need to dismiss their real feelings and experiences.

Perhaps now is the time for Palestinians to build a museum in Gaza which will help document their experience and tell the story of their past and present. This way, no one will feel the Palestinian narrative and experience is being erased or ignored.

Building such a museum may help place these feelings, stories, and experiences in a physical realm, creating the emotional space necessary for the Palestinians to move forward and work towards building a functioning state they can call their own.

The disadvantaged Palestinians of yesterday can become a prosperous nation tomorrow.

What was does not need to be.