As the year comes to an end, the Gaza Strip is preparing to return to the familiar, suffocating financial crises that is sure to result from Qatar’s ending its grant to poor families. Qatari envoy in the Strip, Mohammed al-Emadi, has informed Hamas and other terror factions there that his government is having difficulties renewing the grant, Al-Akhbar reported Tuesday.
These funds did not cover all of Gaza’s poor families, and the most each lucky family received was $100 each month, but it was a reliable stopgap measure to stave off the explosion that’s sure to come without this charity. There will be two more payments until the end of 2019, Al Emadi told the local leaders, after which they are on their own.
Over the weekend, Hamas made it clear that it was blocking the security escalation with Israel and is not interested in keeping it up. But then, on Monday, Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza, bragged that he had been the one to determine in recent years whether or not there would be war.
Kan 11 TV on Monday night provided a glimpse into the other wars Hamas has been waging: internal leadership wars, a cruel, Darwinian effort to literally “thin the herd” with violent border fence riots, and an unofficial operation to induce as many as 200,000 Gazan youths to using drugs, mostly hashish and opiates – to help them forget the hardships of their daily lives.
All in all, it’s a lot like watching a Cheech & Chong movie, but with a lot more violence.
Speaking of thinning the herd, in his Monday speech, Yahya Sinwar doubled down on his Darwin:
“We have a military force in the Strip that the enemy is afraid of. We have hundreds of miles of tunnels, hundreds of control rooms above and below ground, thousands of anti-aircraft missiles and thousands of mortars. We can turn enemy cities into ghost towns if they decide to attack us.”
“The whole world must know that in Gaza there are about 70,000 young, armed men from all the Palestinian factions, and we have young people who believe in the Palestinian cause and who will achieve the goal of the people,” Sinwar said.
He bragged that his forces “are ready to bomb Tel Aviv for a full six months. We have thousands of missiles. The missiles manufactured in the Gaza Strip will turn the world’s most powerful tanks into singed iron.”
He also declared dominion over Israel’s internal politics: “Our stand has led to the uprooting of the Israeli government and Liberman, and we caused a crisis that not even two election campaigns could solve. Maybe they’ll go to a third election campaign.”
Then he warned the Israeli leadership: “You will curse the day you were born.”
Hamas sources told Al-Akhbar that al-Emadi told the terror factions during his most recent visit that it was “difficult to renew the grant,” which is estimated at $30 million a month and covers some 109,000 families—this in addition to paying part of the cost of fuel for electricity in the Gaza Strip.
However, these sources pointed out that the Hamas leadership is counting on renewing the grant through their contacts with Prince Tamim bin Hamad, because “non-renewal means igniting an explosion in the face of the Israeli occupation, which is primary cause for the siege.”
As for the alternative, those sources said: “The ‘occupation’ must transfer tax funds collected directly and indirectly, to the Finance Ministry in Gaza, or, alternatively lift the siege completely, or bear the consequences of the explosion.”