In the besieged enclave of Gaza, scores of Palestinians have lost their lives due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while others are on the brink of survival.
The complete destruction of the area also had a negative impact on the local financial network. Increasing numbers of Gazans are turning to bitcoin and other digital currencies as they seek to protect their wealth and monetary independence from Israel.
The conflict between the two nations, which began in the last century, is one of the most persistent global conflicts. The crux of the problem is that the territory of Israel is home to both Jews (the majority population) and Palestinian Arabs. Although two groups claim the same territory, no compromise has been found yet.
The first tension occurred at the beginning of the 20th century when many Jews fleeing persecution in Europe settled in the region and wanted to establish a national homeland. The local Arab population resisted, claiming that the land was rightfully theirs.
The United Nations intervened to prevent the outbreak of a major military conflict. The organization created a Partition Plan for Palestine that would divide the land into two independent Arab and Jewish states, while Jerusalem would have a Special International Regime. The plan never saw the light of day, provoking the Palestine War of 1947-1949.
In the decades that followed, the area (rich in historical, religious and cultural sites) continued to be plagued by violence. The majority of Israelis support the possible creation of two separate states, while the majority of Palestinians reject such an option. The latter believe that the entire territory belongs to them and have carried out numerous armed attacks against Israelis over the years. The Islamic extremist terrorist organization Hamas is responsible for most of the attacks.
Regardless of who was right, thousands of people lost their lives and much of the land was looted as a result of the war. One of the worst affected areas has been the Gaza Strip (the Palestinian enclave on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea), where the situation is unbearable for many.
The region is one of the most densely populated places on Earth, home to more than two million people. Israel has blockaded it since 2007, meaning residents must rely on humanitarian aid to survive.
Only 5% of the population has access to clean water, and 60% of children are stunted due to malnutrition.
Most of the youth are unemployed and the country’s economy is completely paralyzed. It seems logical that locals would look for alternatives to preserve and create some wealth amidst the chaos, and that’s where cryptocurrency comes in.
Bitcoin: a lifeboat for the deprived
National News interviewed some of the residents of the Gaza Strip and found that many have recently turned to the world of crypto.
One of the participants, Noor, said that his lifestyle changed completely after he started learning about digital currencies.
“My fortune changed when I learned how to invest in Bitcoin and started selling makeup online,” she said.
Dr. Al-Shabaka, political advisor of the Palestinian Political Network. Tariq Dana believes that a growing number of locals have joined the cryptocurrency market as a way to gain independence from Israel’s financial regulations.
“I believe that the decentralized banking status of cryptocurrency is quite encouraging for us [Palestinians] Earning through a safe and free platform,” said Kareem, a resident of Gaza who also invested in bitcoin.
Despite giving them monetary freedom and the chance to be part of a global financial network, cryptocurrency hides its risks due to its notorious volatility. The price of Bitcoin has fallen more than 75% in the last 12 months, causing significant paper losses for HODLers. Haitham Zuhair, a Palestinian businessman and cryptocurrency investor, spoke on the matter:
“I’m sure that the fall in the price of Bitcoin has cost many traders in Gaza because their initial investment and capital is not as high as they thought.
In Palestine, education and experience are essential to continue with cryptocurrency as an online income space and a symbolic means of economic stability. It only takes one wrong call to lose a world’s worth of profits in cryptocurrency.”
Crypto trader Mohammed Awni revealed that his bitcoin investment during the bull run was so successful that he had enough funds to get married. The bear market has crushed his dream (at least for now).
Hamas also finds cryptocurrency attractive
Apart from the many peaceful locals fighting to accommodate both sides, crypto has also attracted the attention of the terrorist organization Hamas.
Last summer, Israeli authorities seized 84 cryptocurrency wallets, some of which allegedly belonged to an Islamic group, with more than $7.7 million in digital assets. According to the seizure, it became clear that Hamas used many coins such as Tether (USDT), Bitcoin (BTC), Tron (TRX), Ether (ETH) and Dogecoin (DOGE).
In another seizure in March of this year, Israel’s Ministry of Defense seized 30 digital wallets linked to al-Mutahadun’s exchange company. Authorities claimed that the platform “helps the terrorist group Hamas, especially its military wing, by transferring tens of millions of dollars a year.”
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