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The Jews' Blessing to Gaza
by Helen Mitchell | Oct 6, 2019 | Israel, Judea and Samaria
Even people who know very little about Israeli politics know two things: the people of Gaza are suffering terribly and it's all Israel's fault.

This is, in fact, a myth. There's no doubt that people are suffering in Gaza. But if you take the time to find out the facts (and don't just listen to the anti-Semitic lies told about Gaza by Israel-haters), you'll see that the Jewish presence in Gaza brought enormous blessing for the local Arab people.

Here are some of the lesser-known facts about the history of Gaza:

Fact 1: Egypt ruled Gaza before Israel – and did more harm than good

Between 1949 and 1967, Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip by military rule. Although the people were living in conditions of poverty and overcrowding, Egypt did not grant them Egyptian citizenship or allow them to live or work in Egypt.

When Israel gained control of Gaza and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) in 1967, it found virtually no sewerage system in the Gaza Strip, dangerous refuse treatment practices (burning garbage led to serious health hazards), and a situation where less than 10% of households had any form of electricity.

Fact 2: Israel built up the infrastructure of Gaza

Within a few months of Israeli governance, the whole of Gaza was connected to the electric grid. By 1985, 94% of households had a regular electricity supply. Israel invested heavily in Gaza's infrastructure, as well as schools, hospitals and other public facilities.

Fact 3: The Jewish settlements in Gaza were good for the Palestinian people

The economy of Gaza blossomed under direct Israeli control. The new Jewish communities established in the region brought with them expertise and employment–particularly with the production of fruits, vegetables and flowers. The Jews built more than 4,000 greenhouses and developed a thriving fresh produce export industry that employed several thousand local Palestinian people.

The standard of living in Gaza rose dramatically during this period. The per capita Gross National Product more than doubled between 1970 and 1980, making it one of the top four fastest growing economies in the world.

Fact 4: It was Palestinian terrorism that created Gaza's problems

Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't Israel that put an end to this upward cycle of development and prosperity. The Palestinian economy started to decline in 1987 as a result of the First Intifada. As the terror attacks increased, particularly from 2000 onwards, Israel was forced to tighten Gaza border security.

Fact 5: Dismantling the Jewish settlements was devastating for the economy of Gaza

The final nail in the coffin came in 2005 when Israel was pressurized into dismantling every Jewish settlement in Gaza. Even though international efforts were made to maintain the fruit and vegetable industry developed by the Jews, the greenhouses were sabotaged by Palestinian terrorists within months of the Jews' evacuation. The economy plummeted and thousands lost their jobs.

From there, the descent into the poverty, extremism and violence that characterize Gaza today became a sad inevitability.

The question is: Why is the world so intent on blaming Israel for Gaza's problems that they don't see the prosperity that the Jews actually brought to the region?