Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90
Senior Hamas and Fatah leaders in Gaza City on April 22., 2014 Hamas and Fatah signed a deal to establish a unity government at that time but it has taken until October to set the government's first Cabinet meeting in Gaza.

{Originally posted on the Gatestone Institute website}

 “Armed robbery in broad daylight.” — Palestinians, after Hamas “seized” $750,000 from Gaza bank.

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Fatah accused Hamas of “squandering” $700 million of financial aid earmarked for the Palestinian victims of war. Fatah wants to ensure that the millions of dollars intended for the Gaza Strip will pass through its hands and not end up in Hamas’s bank accounts. Relying on Fatah in this regard is like asking a cat to guard the milk.

The head of the Palestinian Authority’s Anti-Corruption Commission revealed that his group has retrieved $70 million of public funds fund embezzled by Palestinian officials. Arab and Western donors need to make sure that their money does not end up (once again) in the wrong hands. Without a proper mechanism of accountability and transparency, hundreds of millions of dollars are likely to find their way into the bank accounts of both Hamas and Fatah leaders.

As efforts are underway to hold an international conference in Cairo for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of Operation Protective Edge, the two major Palestinian parties, Hamas and Fatah, are already accusing each other of stealing funds that were channeled to help Palestinian families.

It is not clear at this stage how much money has made its way into the Gaza Strip since the Egypt-brokered cease-fire was announced late August.

But it is clear by now that both Hamas and Fatah are engaged in a fight over who will control the funds and assume responsibility for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

The war between Hamas and Fatah over the funds earmarked for the residents of the Gaza Strip is being fought over every penny and dollar. This is a power struggle in which the only losers are those Palestinians who lost their homes and family members during the military confrontation with Israel.

Hamas and Fatah know that hundreds of millions of dollars will sooner or later be allocated by Arab and Western donors for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. The two parties are determined to lay their hands on the funds, knowing that he who controls the money controls the people.

Both Hamas and Fatah are desperate for cash and are ready to do everything to enrich their coffers, even if that means robbing a bank.

This is exactly what Hamas did last week. Sources in the Gaza Strip said that Hamas security officers raided the Bank of Palestine in Gaza City’s Rimal neighborhood and “seized” $750,000 in cash.

The sources said that the cash belonged to the Palestinian Jawwal Cellular Company. They said that the raid on the bank came on the pretext that the company had not paid all its tax debts to Hamas. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip described the raid as an “armed robbery in broad daylight.”

The “armed robbery” came shortly after Fatah accused Hamas of “squandering” $700 million of financial aid earmarked for the Palestinian victims of the war. It is not clear where this large sum came from.

Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf claimed in an interview with an Egyptian TV station that the funds were donations from many countries. He said that Hamas collected the donations “in the name of children, women and the elderly under the pretext of rebuilding what was destroyed by Israel.” The money, he added, did not reach its destination.

Assaf’s charges are seen as part of a Fatah-orchestrated campaign to prevent donors from dealing with Hamas. Fatah wants to ensure that the millions of dollars intended for the Gaza Strip will pass through its hands and not end up in Hamas’s bank accounts.

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

23 COMMENTS

  1. The pinch line is there is no Palestinian people. Just a bunch of welfare class Arabs getting used by higher up Arabs to make themselves more powerful and wealthy while the “Palestinians” get less powerful and less viable as humans. Relegated abd diminished into literally being used as cannon fodder…and they are too stupid/uneducated/brainwashed to understand it. They have been diverted into blaming Israel when the real enemy is their fellow Arabs. Israel could be their best ally…just a shame…

  2. Billions we gave Iraqi leaders for reconstruction never translated to rebuilding; while the people struggled the "leaders" sat in a modern comfortable hotel and "discussed" what to do as the funds were shifted to their personal accounts. Same old, same old.

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