On Gaza Citys quayside, Palestinians fear that Benjamin Netanyahus rivals in Tuesdays poll are as belligerent as he is
As reflections from the quayside lights twinkle in the water below, the fisherman Maher Abu Hazima takes a five shekel coin from his pocket and holds it face up. Thats Netanyahu, he says before turning it over with a flick of his wrist. And thats Gantz. Theyre the same.
Demonstrating that his contempt for politicians is not confined to the rivals for the premiership in Tuesdays Israeli election, he adds with a laugh: Like Fatah and Hamas.
Abu Hazima, 36, is standing on the weather-beaten deck of a boat owned by the Abu Odeh family. It should be heading 15 nautical miles into the Mediterranean to exploit a four-month-old extension to limits enforced by live fire, arrests and seizures of boats that stray past the Israeli navys vessels. The limit has been as low as three miles compared with 20 miles prescribed under the Oslo accords so this ought to have been a welcome respite.
But in blockaded Gaza, life is rarely that simple. Starved of spare parts, which Israel says could be used by Hamas for military purposes, the crew has had to stay in port while a mechanic cannibalises a truck gearbox to repair the boats broken one.
Abu Hazima is not alone in seeing the leading contenders in Tuesdays election as two sides of the same coin. We dont care who is in charge of Israel even if its Trump, says Issa Hassan, 22, who runs a coffee stall on the edge of the beach in Gaza. Were like a ball being kicked between the PA [Palestinian Authority] and Hamas and Israel. We are hit by everybody.