Are the Arabs in Gaza people who suffer due to the actions of the Israelis? This is what the mass media and student protesters on college campuses will have you believe. To an innocent outside observer, this seems so logical too. After all, Israel is the relatively wealthy country, and the Arabs in Gaza are the rather poor masses, many of whom still live in squalor. Aren’t the Israelis the reason for this clear difference in lifestyle? The answers will surprise you.
Arabs in Gaza are largely Arabs who came to the area sometime in the early parts of the 20th century from Egypt and their descendants. They came in order to live better as Egypt was not as advanced as the developing State of Israel. Even before there was a State of Israel, Arabs found employment in Jewish owned factories and in Jewish-owned businesses – especially in the building sector. The word spread quickly and more and more Arabs came from Egypt during the 30 year British Mandate period between 1918-1948. In Israel’s War of Independence between 1947-1948, Israel turned back the advances of Arab soldiers from Egypt and the area of Gaza. But Israel did not succeed in overrunning Gaza. Gaza remained within the governance of Egypt for 19 years till 1967. In these 19 years, the Egyptian government made it a point to keep the Arabs in Gaza in a very lowly state in refugee camps. This created a ticking time bomb and an angry population of hundreds of thousands of Arabs grew rapidly to an angry population of hundreds of thousands of Arabs by 1967.
So, when Israel actually took over the area, it was already a problematic area. In the ensuing 50 years, the population has ballooned. There are many debates as to the actual number of Arabs in Gaza. But, everyone agrees that the number exceeds 1 million. Some claim as many as 2 million Arabs live there. Israel gave in to Arab demands and walked away from the area. The Arabs have total self determination. The core of the problem is that the Arabs have determined that they want to destroy Israel and not build their own country. So, instead of taking the millions of dollars in world aid each month and building a country, they invest in terrorist infrastructure. It’s really that simple. That’s the core of the problem.