MidEast

Hamas Robs Bank, Fights Fatah for Gaza Reconstruction Money

The growing friction between Fatah and Hamas over reconstruction funds in Gaza led to Hamas officers robbing a bank, it was reported Saturday.

The journalist Khaled Abu Toameh recounted the incident on the website of the Gatestone Institute.

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 robbery came on heels of charges that Hamas had misappropriated $700 million of aid for victims of this summer’s fighting between Israel and Hamas.

But as Abu Toameh points out, Fatah hardly has a record of probity when it comes to large sums of money.

The 20-year-old Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority [PA] is notorious for its financial and administrative corruption.

Earlier this month, Rafik Natsheh, head of the PA’s Anti-Corruption Commission, revealed that his department has managed to retrieve $70 million of public funds embezzled by Palestinian officials. He also said that his department uncovered 60 more cases of financial corruption in 2013.

As both Hamas and Fatah struggle for the aid money, the “only losers are those Palestinians who lost their homes and family members during the military confrontation with Israel.”

In We Really Need to Talk About Corruption, which was published in the December 2013 issue of The Tower Magazine, Jonathan Schanzer observed:

While there is no doubt that Hamas’ grisly record of suicide bombings and other attacks against Israeli civilian and military targets won over some of the Palestinian population, there was another explanation for its victory that many in the West preferred not to acknowledge: The Palestinians were looking for new leaders after years of living under a corrupt regime. Hamas ran for election under the banner of “change and reform,” and its message resonated.

It would appear that the corruption issue no longer an advantage for Hamas over Fatah

[Photo: Bank of Palestine / YouTube ]