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January 31, 2022 11:57 am
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Media, Diplomats Still Silent Over Hamas’ Violent Evictions of Dozens in Gaza

avatar by Akiva Van Koningsveld

Opinion

At least 23 Palestinian families were displaced. They were not offered compensation or alternative housing, leaving some with only the option of living in tents.

One year later, they are apparently still on the streets.

And yet, not a single mainstream news outlet has reported the story.

On December 15, 2020, barely three weeks before the bulldozers were dispatched to Rafah, the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Land Authority reportedly green-lighted the expropriation of 13.6 acres of territory with the goal of expanding the commercial crossing with Egypt.

Hamas asserted that the “residents do not hold title deeds proving their ownership,” but the evicted families told Al-Monitor that this was not uncommon, and made clear that their plots were “registered at the real-estate property department of the municipality of Rafah as nongovernment lands.”

The Hamas-appointed mayor of Rafah warned that Hamas’ disregard placed “more than 90% of Rafah’s lands” at risk of confiscation.

“We have been living on this land and cultivating it for more than 40 years — that is, before Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, and even before the founding of Hamas in 1987,” resident Mohammed Abu Shteiwi said.

He added: “The families who live on these lands have no other shelter.”

Abu Shteiwi subsequently wrote a post on Facebook, where he also shared photos and videos of people living in squalor, and stated that Hamas’ actions were “an attack and assault. Destruction of our property, stealing of land, beating women and residents forcefully with no right.”

It garnered few, if any denunciations from foreign governments.

On January 10, 2022, Abu Shteiwi again took to Facebook: “Since a year and more, some people lived on the rubbles of their homes in the cold weather until this moment.”

Gaza’s rulers frequently trample on the rights of Palestinians.

HonestReporting has highlighted how Hamas and other Gaza Strip-based terror groups use civilians as human shields (see, for example, here, here, here, and here). Hamas is also known to use residential buildings, hotels, hospitals, and even schools as launching pads for attacks against Israel.

Gazans previously called on Hamas and its allies to stop storing weapons in residential areas. That rare internal outcry followed a large explosion in Gaza City’s Al-Zawiya market that killed one person and injured 14 others.

After severe flooding earlier this month in Gaza, some accused Hamas of diverting funds earmarked for infrastructure projects to the building of tunnels, often used to smuggle weapons and carry out terror attacks against Israel.

If they truly support and care for Palestinians, the media and foreign governments must address Hamas’ crimes in Gaza, particularly as they pertain to violating human rights. Additionally, Western diplomats, in particular, should publicly condemn the organization they define as a terrorist group that continues to harm Palestinians and Israelis alike.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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