In late May, once again a military confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza reached a conclusion of sorts, and focus almost immediately turned to reconstruction. And despite all of the Hamas braggadocio of having again succeeded in teaching Israel a lesson, it is clearly a devastated Gaza Strip that once again needs rebuilding.
But it occurred to us that for all the rebuilding talk in “the international community” and how to go about paying for it, perhaps the topic’s most salient point was ignored. At least publicly, the only concern that was being expressed was that the funds not fall into the hands of Hamas, which had provoked the Israeli retaliation, with Palestinians who actually suffered the losses to their homes and businesses being left high and dry. A worthy concern, but not the only one.
Typical headlines in major media eloquently make the point:
The New York Times ran with: “US” Looks To Rebuild Gaza, But Aid Could Hinge On Hamas’s Rocket Arsenal.” That is, there was fear that Hamas would siphon off some of the money to replenish their stores of rockets which hey apparently did the last time around.
The Washington Post story was headlined with, “Who Will Rebuild the Gaza Strip? And What Obstacles Stand In The Way?” It explained the obstacles in terms of making sure Hamas got no access to the funds.
The Jerusalem Post carried the headline, “PA Obstructing Gaza Reconstruction” and explained that an internecine battle between Hamas and Fatah for access to the money.
NPR went with: “Gaza Wants To Rebuild, But Ensuring Funds Don’t Go To Hamas Is Slowing the Process.”
And for the BBC it was, “The Dilemma of Rebuilding Gaza Without Rearming Hamas.”
But there was nary a concern about the fact that the perpetrators, Hamas, would not be called upon to account for the damage. Not only would Hamas not have to raise a penny for the repairs, as the political leadership on the scene their officials would necessarily get to oversee the repairs and become identified on a regular basis with the solution and not the problem.
So for Hamas, the recent fighting was largely a “win, win.” They were able to claim to the Palestinian “street” that they once again stood up to Israel and then took care of the damage the latter caused. And it cost them nothing.
We’re not unmindful of the great devastation by the fighting. We’re just calling attention to the need for Hamas to be made to account for their work product.