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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Arab spring coming to Gaza?

Is the Arab spring coming to Gaza? It just might, and if it does it will be directed at Hamas and not - as the terror group hoped - at Israel.
A budding middle class in the impoverished Gaza Strip is flaunting its wealth, sipping coffee at gleaming new cafes, shopping for shoes at the new tiny shopping malls, and fueling perhaps the most acrimonious grass roots resentment yet toward the ruling Hamas movement.

This middle class, which has become visible at the same time as a mini-construction boom in this blockaded territory, is celebrating its weddings in opulent halls and vacationing in newly built beach bungalows. That level of consumption may be modest by Western standards, but it's in startling contrast to the grinding poverty of most Gazans, who rely on UN food handouts to get by.

Some of the well-off are Hamas loyalists. That rankles many Gaza residents because the conservative Islamic movement gained popularity by tending to the poor, through charitable aid, education and medical care - along with its armed struggle against Israel.

"Hamas has become rich at the expense of the people," fumed a 22-year-old seamstress, Nisrine, as she stitched decorative applique onto a dress. She wouldn't disclose her family name, not wanting to be seen criticizing the militant group.

Gaza's Hamas government denies its loyalists have gotten wealthy since the group came to power. Corruption "doesn't touch us," said Hamas official Yusef Rizka.
Corrupt? Hamas? That's the one thing they are not supposed to be. Hmmm.

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