By Dr. Aliza Lavie, an academic and an Israeli MK from Yesh Atid party:
Hamas is not only at war with Israel. Hamas is at war with its own people.
We have seen in recent days pictures of the many advanced tunnels Hamas built. These tunnels are reinforced by concrete for kilometers, with one recent tunnel found to be 15 kilometers in length. It has been determined that the concrete used to build these tunnels came directly from Israel.
It is clear that instead of building schools, health systems and universities with the concrete and millions of dollars in international aid given to Gaza, Hamas has chosen to utilize this funding to devise ways to attack Israel. And many in people of Gaza are not happy about this.
Recent polls, cited in an article by the Washington Institute, show that many in Gaza are unhappy with Hamas's governance. The polls found that 78 % of those questioned find that the "presence of Palestinian militias that are not organized under the formal security structure" to be at least a "moderate" problem. Instead of supporting education and creating new infrastructure to give their citizens a chance at a better life, Hamas has chosen to use the money to bring more chaos, more unrest.
I believe that if Hamas had women within their leadership, women involved in making decisions for people of Gaza, things may have turned out much differently.
Research has shown, time and again, that given political power, women choose to devote resources to building infrastructure, creating better school systems and improving public health.
Hamas chose to do the complete opposite.
When I was a soldier over 30 years ago in the Education Core, I used to take soldiers to see the communities in Gaza. We lived together, Arabs and Israelis, in beautiful, productive communities that have been there for centuries. I would show them the beautiful synagogue, the ancient Gaza Synagogue, with its mosaics dating back to the Byzantine period. What we are finding now, in Gaza, is that the standard of living by which the people of Gaza live is in all honesty, a humanitarian crisis. Women are prisoners within their own home. Prisoners to a terrorist organization that does not have their best interests in mind. Prisoners to a government that favors funding militant terrorism rather than investing in their families. Hamas has oriented Gaza towards war, not towards building a better future for their wives, children and families.
I believe that in order to bring peace, there must be peace within the nations at odds, peace within their homes, peace within their families. As a mother, my heart goes out to the women of Gaza, their children, their families. I hope for peace, a real, everlasting peace for the sake of your family, and mine.
(MK Dr. Aliza Lavie)