Following the interdiction of explosive chemicals hidden in shipments of medical supplies to the Gaza Strip by Israel’s Defense Ministry, the American Special Representative for International Negotiations blasted Hamas, the terrorist group that has complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip, for causing “misery” to Gaza’s residents by choosing terror over “improving the lives it purports to govern.”
On Twitter Sunday, Jason Greenblatt, the American envoy, wrote, “Hamas should be improving the lives of those it purports to govern, but instead chooses to increase violence and cause misery for the people of Gaza.” He continued, “Imagine what the people of Gaza could do with the $100 million Iran gives Hamas annually that Hamas uses for weapons and tunnels to attack Israel!”
Greenblatt is not the only observer lately to express concern about the misery of those living under Hamas rule in Gaza.
Last week, Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations’ Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said that the situation in Gaza was “well beyond” a humanitarian crisis.
At Israel’s weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, the IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisnkot warned of the “deteriorating humanitarian and economic conditions” in the Hamas-ruled enclave.
Hamas has prioritized the building of tunnels and increasing the size of its arsenal, while most Gazans are limited to a few hours of electricity a day.
In December, it was reported that Yahye Sinwar, Hamas’s new chief in Gaza, seemed to confirm this assessment saying, “We made a mistake. We lack the ability and means to govern almost 2 million people, and in our arrogance we cast them into a state of indigence, hunger, and desperation.”
The problem of Hamas putting the building of its terror infrastructure ahead of the welfare of Gaza’s residents is not new.
The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff reported in March 2016 on a scheme where Hamas enriched itself using Qatari money that was intended to build homes for Gazans. Although the homes were meant to be free, Hamas charged families $40,000 each, ostensibly to connect utilities, collecting an estimated $38 million to fund its other activities.
Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh pointed out a month earlier that Hamas has prioritized building up its terror infrastructure over rebuilding Gazan homes, writing that “the last thing Hamas cares about is the welfare of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
In December 2014, Neri Zilber observed that, while Fatah and Hamas fight over control of Gaza’s reconstruction, “Israel, of all the parties involved, has shown the greatest degree of flexibility towards a Gaza Strip still ruled by Hamas.”
[Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv / YouTube]