Life behind barbed wire in Gaza

  • Date 19.10.2012
  • Author Tania Krämer / sms
  • Editor Ben Knight

Though local elections are slated for the West Bank, Palestinians in Gaza won’t be casting ballots. Hamas, which controls Gaza, has boycotted the elections, leaving the 1.6 million people there in a difficult position.

Between piles of used spare parts and a container of motor oil, Munzer Al Dayya is working on a generator. The mechanic is a popular man in Gaza City, where power can go out for as long as eight hours a day, and he said he’s earning a decent living thanks to the blackouts.

“Every day that we get through is good, but no one knows what’s coming,” he said. “The only thing that’s clear is that the next day will be worse than the previous day. Why, how, and for what? Who knows? No one can explain what’s going on here.”

Al Dayya said getting an explanation for what’s happening in Gaza City depends on who you ask. But one thing is clear – Hamas controls the Gaza Strip and has expanded its control since taking power five years ago. Neither an Israeli blockade nor the US and European isolation policy has been able to change this.

Hamas, labeled a terrorist group by the West, has developed its own bureaucratic structures, ranging from an administration to an all-round security service. Various observers have noted that the political separation between Gaza and the West Bank has been widened by the separate governing structures in the two regions.

No local elections in Gaza

Local elections scheduled to take place in the West Bank on Saturday are expected to widen the gap. Hamas is not taking part in the poll, leaving voters there to choose between the Fatah party and some independent candidates.

“The elections cannot be transparent and fair,” said Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum. “Many of our Hamas leaders and members are in prisons run by the Palestinian Authority. These are Fatah elections – not Palestinian elections.”

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