Work for the establishment of a new US operated hospital in the northern Gaza Strip is being criticized by Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) who claim that the medical facility is part of a broader scheme to establish a Hamas-run micro-state.
The 10-acre hospital will consist of infrastructure dismantled from the IDF’s military hospital established by Israel a few years ago on the border with Syria, and equipment donated by a US organization, Friendship NGO. This project will also include support from Qatar, which has already invested $1 million.
The hospital, situated 200 meters from the Erez Crossing from Israel to Gaza, will be managed by voluntary organizations and doctors from various countries. The hospital’s services will include treatment for cancer patients and 16 new wards, but nonetheless, the Palestinians are opposed to its establishment.
The PA has opposed the project because it claims that it is part of the understandings which are currently forming between Israel and Hamas, and which are expected to deepen the split between the PA’s government in Ramallah and Hamas’ rule in Gaza.
Fatah has announced that any civilian project that does not receive the PA’s approval is intended to advance President Donald Trump’s Deal of the Century diplomatic plan and deepen the schism between the PA and Gaza.
PA officials told TPS Sunday that “such a hospital gives Hamas significant civilian capacity and will block the union between the two Palestinian government areas,” the Gaza Strip in the PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria.
The PA was essentially ousted from the Gaza Strip by Hamas when it violently took control of the area in 2007. The PA has since been trying to regain control of the enclave through diplomatic and financial maneuvers, including sanctions on the Strip.
A Fatah spokesman said over the weekend that the hospital, which is at advanced stages of construction, is “a crime committed by Hamas against the PA residents” by perpetuating the internal schism between Fatah and Hamas.
PA Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein A-Sheikh tweeted that the hospital’s construction is part of an “Israeli policy of fragmentation” designed to eliminate the idea of the Palestinian state. He called the initiative the “Shame Plan,” which is meant to separate the Gaza Strip from the rest of the PA.
The PA attacked the initiative and said that while Israel and the US are withholding financial aid from hospitals in the PA, the US is promoting a suspicious plan to establish a hospital, which is being described as “an American military base.”
They further claimed that the developer behind the establishment of the hospital is close to the Netanyahu family.
Images of American women and men from the hospital’s establishment team, dressed in uniforms that look like “Marines,” and a photo of a young gun-carrying woman, have sparked criticism against Hamas on social networks over its “consent for a foreign military presence in the Gaza Strip.”
Social media users mocked Hamas whose guards are securing the work on the hospital.
Some factions within the Gaza Strip also oppose the establishment of the hospital because of its proximity to the border with Israel, which makes it vulnerable to a quick overrun by Israeli forces.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed the new hospital was “an Israeli intelligence base.”
Hassan Atzfour, a former member of the PA team to the peace talks with Israel, wrote that recent developments in the region are, in fact, part of the US’ Deal of the Century peace plan. He claimed that the establishment of the Gaza Strip hospital and the upcoming elections in the PA are part of a broader American plan to set up a separate and financially independent entity in the Gaza Strip.