Gaza Before and After the War – A Call for Peace and Economic Prosperity

The Gaza Strip, a narrow stretch of land along the Mediterranean coast, has long been a focal point of geopolitical tension and conflict. However, before the most recent outbreak of hostilities, Gaza was not just a battleground but a place of resilience, industry, and everyday life. This editorial seeks to illuminate the stark contrast between Gaza’s situation before and after the war, highlighting the devastating impact of the conflict and advocating for a shift towards peace and economic development.

Gaza Before the War
Before the war, Gaza had a complex yet functioning relationship with Israel. Approximately 18,000 Gazans were employed in Israel’s agriculture and construction industries. These workers were more than just employees; they were the breadwinners for 18,000 families, providing a lifeline of economic stability. These workers earned an average monthly wage of 1,880 shekels, equivalent to approximately $4,900 per month, which was slightly above the median wage in Israel. This income was crucial in a region where opportunities are scarce, directly impacting the livelihoods of thousands of people.

Additionally, Gaza’s essential services, including water and electricity, were significantly supported by Israel. These utilities were provided at discounted prices, ensuring that even amidst economic challenges, Gazans had access to necessary resources. This support extended to sectors such as education and health, where Israel facilitated various programs and aid initiatives. Educational materials, health supplies, and infrastructural support flowed into Gaza, contributing to the development and well-being of its residents.

Despite these cooperative efforts, the underlying tensions remained a constant threat to this fragile stability. The root causes of these tensions are deeply embedded in the political and historical context of the region, and while periods of relative calm allowed for some level of normalcy, the specter of conflict always loomed large.

The Outbreak of War
The situation took a drastic turn when Hamas, the militant group governing Gaza, launched a massive attack on Israel with the support of Iran. This attack marked a severe escalation in hostilities and triggered a devastating military response from Israel. The coin had flipped, and Gaza was thrust into the throes of war.

The human cost of this conflict has been staggering. Over 35,000 Palestinians have lost their lives, and countless others have been injured. The infrastructure of Gaza has been decimated, reducing entire neighborhoods to rubble and leaving a dire humanitarian crisis in its wake. The blockade, already a severe impediment to Gaza’s economy and daily life, has tightened further, exacerbating the scarcity of basic necessities such as food, water, and medical supplies.

Iran, which supported Hamas in its aggressive actions, has largely remained on the sidelines, watching the devastation unfold. This detachment highlights a crucial and painful reality: while the people of Gaza suffer, those who influenced these violent decisions bear none of the consequences. Instead, they are mere spectators to the unfolding tragedy, far removed from the immediate suffering and chaos.

The Path Forward: From Conflict to Commerce
The ongoing conflict has demonstrated the futility of violence and the immense suffering it brings. It is time for Hamas to reconsider its strategy and embrace a path of peace and economic development. Dropping guns and bombs in favor of building businesses and investing in the community could transform Gaza from a warzone into a thriving, self-sustaining region.

Investing in local businesses and infrastructure could create jobs and stimulate economic growth, providing alternative livelihoods to young people who might otherwise be drawn into militant activities. Gaza has the potential to develop industries that can produce goods for export, thus integrating into the global economy and reducing its dependency on external aid and imports.

Education should be at the forefront of this transformation. By prioritizing education, Gaza can cultivate a generation equipped with the skills needed for innovation and entrepreneurship. This shift would not only empower individuals but also contribute to the overall economic resilience of the region.

Healthcare is another critical area that requires attention. Instead of relying on external aid, Gaza could develop its healthcare infrastructure, ensuring that all residents have access to quality medical services. This would improve overall health outcomes and create jobs within the healthcare sector.

Moreover, Gaza’s geographical location along the Mediterranean coast offers opportunities for tourism and trade. By promoting stability and safety, the region could attract investments and tourists, further bolstering its economy. Collaborative efforts with neighboring countries, including Israel, could pave the way for regional development projects that benefit all parties involved.

One practical step towards economic revitalization could be the establishment of free trade zones or industrial parks that encourage investment and provide employment opportunities. These zones could focus on sectors such as manufacturing, technology, and services, leveraging Gaza’s strategic location and human capital.

Furthermore, international organizations and donor countries could play a significant role in supporting Gaza’s transition from conflict to commerce. Financial aid and technical assistance could be directed towards rebuilding infrastructure, promoting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and enhancing educational and vocational training programs.

The private sector, both locally and internationally, can also be a catalyst for change. Companies could invest in Gaza’s economy, bringing in capital, technology, and expertise. Public-private partnerships could help develop critical infrastructure, such as transportation, energy, and telecommunications, which are essential for economic growth.

The situation in Gaza before and after the war underscores the immense cost of conflict and the potential benefits of peace and economic development. The destruction wrought by war has only deepened the hardships faced by the people of Gaza, while those who instigated the violence remain unaffected by its direct consequences.

It is imperative for Hamas to abandon its militant approach and embrace a vision of peace and prosperity. By focusing on economic development, education, healthcare, and infrastructure, Gaza can transform its future. This path not only offers hope for the people of Gaza but also contributes to regional stability and peace.

The international community, including Israel, has a role to play in supporting this transition. By providing the necessary resources and facilitating cooperation, a new chapter can be written for Gaza—one defined not by conflict and destruction, but by growth, innovation, and shared prosperity.

In this endeavor, the resilience and determination of the Gazan people will be crucial. Their desire for a better future, free from the shadows of war and violence, must be the driving force behind this transformation. It is a future where the youth of Gaza can aspire to careers in technology, healthcare, and business, rather than being drawn into cycles of violence.

By shifting focus from warfare to welfare, from destruction to construction, and from conflict to commerce, Gaza can emerge as a beacon of hope and progress in the region. The journey will be challenging, but with collective effort and a shared commitment to peace, it is a journey worth undertaking.–Written by Ali with facts provided by Ron Paz an Israeli Govt. Official