The Palestinians have long pushed for a state that would include Gaza and the so-called West Bank as one entity, with expectations that the two territories separated by many miles would somehow even be a “contiguous” whole. But the Hamas government in Gaza isn’t treating them like one—a proposed import tax increase would treat West Bank products like those from another country according to a report by the Ma’an News Agency.
It isn’t sitting well with the West Bank Palestinians. The report quoted Palestinian Authority Deputy Minister of Economy Taysir Amro as claiming that Gaza and the West Bank is “one national market, and it is not reasonable to impose taxes on [products from the West Bank entering Gaza]. It’s unacceptable nonsense.” Gaza’s government claims the tax process—which treats products entering Gaza from the West Bank, Israel, or another nation as the same—is an old one.
The Palestinians claim the West Bank—which includes much of the Biblically-famous regions of Judea and Samaria and is currently controlled by Israel—and continue to push for Israel to concede most of it and Gaza for a Palestinian state. But incidents like the tax situation, alongside the continued political divide between Gaza and the West Bank, make such visions seem quite premature, at best.
Regardless of whether or not it’s a new step, the Hamas government in Gaza’s approach to treat West Bank products as not coming from the same state runs counter to the intent to ultimately unite them as one nation. It also runs against the approach to how the West Bank Palestinian government is handling Gaza internationally.
Despite the fact that the effective leadership in the two regions is divided, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah—who has more support on the West Bank side—was pushing French investment in Gaza according to a press release by the WAFA Palestinian news agency.
The report quoted Hamdallah as telling the French that “Palestine is a gate to democracy and peace in the Arab world”—which is ironic since Palestine isn’t an official entity and apparently can’t find peace amongst themselves. And based on the Gaza tax and the continued failure to fully unite the two governments, the Palestinians aren’t even acting like one state, raising further questions about their capacity to achieve their ambitions.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, September 13, 2015)