hamas militants
© AP Photo / Adel Hana
Even though Hamas is the one organising protests along the Israel-Gaza border, they don't take responsibility for the deaths and injuries such rallies cause, says a Palestinian protester, who was wounded in one of the clashes. Although he does get money from Ramallah, the amount is simply not enough to keep him afloat.

Demonstrations along the Israel-Gaza border that have drawn thousands of Palestinians to the fence and have seen more than 200 Palestinians killed over the course of two years, will resume in March, said a statement by the High Commission for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege.

The so-called March of Return protests that erupted in March 2018 following Washington's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel stopped following mediation efforts by the Egyptian government. Now, however, they promise to come back with a new vigour.

Fatal Mistake

But Abdallah, a 24-year-old Palestinian from Gaza, will not be one of those who take part in these rallies.
"I was working in a clothes market when I heard that there were mass clashes on the border. I went to participate but that was more out of curiosity".
That was Abdallah's mistake. A bullet from an Israeli soldier that penetrated his foot led to a bone laceration, which eventually left him handicapped.

Abdallah, just like thousands of others who were injured during clashes with Israeli forces, receives compensation from the Palestinian Authority.

Out of the PA's annual budget of $5 billion in 2019, $147 million was spent on transfers to prisoners, while $185 million was dedicated to the support of families of "martyrs" or those injured by Israeli forces.

Price List for Death and Injury

"Palestinians know that there is a price list for death, injury, and incarceration. When a person is killed his family receives around $300. When he is 'only' injured, the number is lower".

According to Israel Hayom, a daily paper associated with the country's right-wing circles, a Palestinian prisoner who serves up to three years in prison receives a monthly payment of $400. For serving between 26 to 30 years, the price is much higher totalling almost $3,000 a month.

Abdallah himself receives a total of $175 per month for the injury he suffered but this is barely enough for food and the medicine he needs. Enrolling in a college is out of the question. So is finding a job.

In an area where the unemployment rate peaked at 52 percent in 2018, the chances of Abdallah, as well as other handicapped people, finding a job are slim.

Hamas Doesn't Rush to Help

In 2017 alone, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reported that the unemployment rate among persons with disabilities in Gaza reached some 54 percent. And that number was constantly rising.
"I went to the governmental offices in Gaza asking Hamas for help but was told that they couldn't give me any assistance and that nobody pushed me to the fence. That got me even more frustrated and disappointed", Abdallah explained.
But he is not the only one. A 2018 Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey found that only 5 percent of Palestinians were happy with the situation in Gaza and although 39 percent of those asked blamed Israel for the mess they were in, many - around 20 percent - held Hamas responsible too.
"In the past it was different. People took part in the demonstrations eagerly as they truly believed that Hamas was fighting for a Palestinian cause. Nobody takes it seriously anymore. Most people just want to leave".
The same poll revealed that 45 percent of Gazans wanted to leave the enclave with reports suggesting that some 36,000 Palestinians left the Gaza Strip in 2018.