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March 31, 2015 / 11 Nisan, 5775
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Khaled Abu Toameh: Israel Not to Blame in Gaza


Hamas police officersin Gaza

Hamas police officersin Gaza
Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Who is stopping the Palestinians from turning the Gaza Strip into the Middle East’s Hong Kong? Is it Israel, the Palestinians themselves, or the Arab countries?

In the past few weeks, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has visited a number of Arab and Islamic countries in a bid to secure financial aid for “rebuilding” the Gaza Strip.

Haniyeh returned to the Gaza Strip this week with a suitcase full of promises from Iran, Qatar, Sudan, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to help the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip.

Some of the Arab countries promised to provide cement and construction material, whiles others pledged to fund various economic and housing projects there.

But the Palestinians have become used to empty promises from the Arab and Islamic countries.

In the past, the Arab League promised $4 billion in aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip. However, Palestinians say that so far they have seen almost nothing from the Arab and Islamic countries.

Earlier this year, Hamas accused the Palestinian Authority of laying its hands on a few million dollars that were donated by some Arab and Islamic countries for helping the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority has denied the charge.

Of course it is easy to blame Israel for the ongoing crisis in the Gaza Strip; that is exactly what Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the rest of the Arab and Islamic countries have been doing.

Israel alone , they say, is to blame for everything that goes wrong in the Gaza Strip. If there is a problem of drugs in the Gaza Strip, it must be the Israelis who are behind it.

And when there is no electricity in the Gaza Strip, both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority often rush to blame Israel for the crisis.

But the Palestinian Center for Human Rights announced this week that Palestinians — not Israel — were to blame for the electricity crisis.

The human rights group pointed out that Hamas announced that the operation of the Gaza Energy Plant was stopped because it ran out of fuel.

Until recently, the fuel used to be smuggled from Egypt through underground tunnels. Before that, the fuel was bought from Israel, and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank used to cover the costs. But because of the dispute between Hamas and Fatah, the Palestinian Authority stopped its contribution.

Palestinian Authority officials have accused Hamas of stealing the fuel for its own institutions and vehicles.

So if anyone is to blame for the fact that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been left without electricity it’s both Hamas and Fatah.

Also, when there’s a shortage of medicine in the Gaza Strip, Hamas usually hold the Palestinian Authority responsible for failing to deliver them to the Gaza Strip.

When Israel left the Gaza Strip back in 2005, the Palestinians had the opportunity to turn the coastal area into the Arab world’s Singapore.

Everyone, including Israel and Jews living in the US and Canada, was prepared to help the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. But the Palestinians chose instead to turn the Gaza Strip into a center for Islamist groups.

These groups have since brought nothing but death and destruction to the residents of the Gaza Strip. Today, the Gaza Strip is counting to march backward. Backed by many Palestinians, the radicals continue to call the shots, and there is no hope for the emergence of moderate forces in the foreseeable future.

That is the main reason the Arabs and Muslims are not eager to transfer billions of dollars to the Gaza Strip. They know that money will go to purchasing missiles and ammunition there instead of building new schools and hospitals.

 

Originally published by Stonegate Institute www.stonegateinstitute.org

About the Author: Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.


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