For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Hamas has twice violently attacked UN summer camps in the Gaza Strip in order to destroy them and intimidate kids from attending them. The goal is to force young people to go to Hamas summer camps where they will be given military and ideological training to teach them to be future terrorists.
The UN actually condemned the attacks and the Hamas regime for fomenting them.
I’m not complaining about this article—a small drop in the ocean of needed media coverage of Hamas’s repression and extremism—but one sentence caught my eye. The UN, “camps provide a rare distraction from the hardships endured by more than 250,000 Palestinian refugees that live in the Gaza Strip.”
Unlike many others, this article doesn’t blame Israel for all of these problems but it is also worth recalling why refugees still live in camps. Prior to turning over the Gaza Strip to rule by the Palestinian Authority in 1994, Israel at times tried to resettle the refugees in new housing. This step was not only opposed by the PLO—which wanted to keep the refugees in temporary housing until their triumphant return to a Palestine built on the smoldering remains of a destroyed Israel—but by a UN resolution. And so Israel abandoned the effort.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) ruled the Gaza Strip for more than a dozen years and received lavish aid funding, some of it specifically earmarked for new housing. But it was PA policy never to move refugees into new housing, for the same reason as before. Their suffering was good propaganda abroad and also was intended to keep the refugees in a dissatisfied state of mind so they would support continuing the battle until total victory and be willing to sacrifice their lives for the cause.
So why do refugees in the Gaza Strip and West Bank live in refugee camps today? For the same reason that there is no Palestinian state: Because of decisions made by the Palestinian leadership, both nationalist and Islamist.
There is no way anyone can refute these points, they can only ignore them.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"