U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to return to the region by the end of the week.
Kerry will participate in a conference focused on “rebuilding Gaza,” to be held in Cairo on October 12, according to State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki.
Last Thursday the Palestinian Authority unity government called on world leaders to provide $4 billion to rebuild the enclave.
Many areas were battered by Israeli air strikes targeting weapons factories and hidden rocket launchers – deliberately placed by Hamas and other terror groups among Gaza civilian residential population centers.
Israel launched its counter terror Operation Protective Edge in July to stop the constant rocket fire from Gaza terrorists who aimed their missiles and other ordnance at civilians in southern Israeli towns and cities.
The United States last month said it would boost the rehabilitation effort in Gaza with an additional $71 million in emergency aid to the region, bringing its total funding since the start of the war to more than $118 million.
But although the PA unity government claims that $1.9 billion is needed for public and private infrastructure repais, and $1.2 billion is needed for “reactivating economic productivity,” these figures need to be scrutinized.
First of all, there is still a highly complex network of smuggler tunnels that lies beneath the ground level of Gaza. Much of the construction material previously allowed in to the region for the purpose of building “infrastructure” — as well as houses, hospitals and other badly needed structures — obviously was instead instantly diverted to military use. Billions of dollars gone astray there.
Ditto for other “dual use” supplies such as metal piping and other materials redirected instead towards the manufacture of missiles, rockets and mortar shells.
Endless funds have been poured into the enclave by the United States, European nations and other well-meaning, wealthy donors – only to leave Gaza residents as poor as ever, forever dependent upon the self-perpetuating United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
“Basic necessities like food, clean water and fuel remain in short supply throughout the territory,” the State Department warned in a statement last month. But legitimate desalination plants and sewage treatment plants were not built in Gaza because the materials with which to build them were always being stolen by the ruling Hamas terrorist organization for use in building up its military structure.
Fuel, food and clean water has been shipped in on a weekly basis throughout the entire summer and right up to the current day, via the overland crossings from Israel, even at times under rocket and mortar fire. Each was documented by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). So basics are not the issue. Perhaps the State Department should question Hamas.
When the shipments do not go through, it is because the ruling Hamas terror group chooses to block the transfer. When they do go through, they “sometimes” never make it to the warehouse — or when they make it to the warehouse, they are sometimes “redistributed” elsewhere rather than to their intended target families.
Hamas is known to steal supplies and keep its own fighters fed, first and foremost. It has no problem starving its citizens for the purpose of winning a pitiful international “photo op.”
That, without a single murmur from Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority unity government that partners with Hamas and whose own Fatah military wing, the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, joined in with the rocket fire aimed at Israel from Gaza during this summer’s war.
By the way, the first meeting of the PA unity government is set to be held this Thursday in Gaza.Rachel Levy