The Gaza Strip is still in need of funding and rebuilding, but one key culprit has managed to escape most of the scrutiny for the crisis—the Palestinians themselves. Specifically, the offender is the West Bank-based government essentially led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas—which was supposed to be part of a broader unity government with Gaza-based Hamas.
With that unity government having been dissolved by Abbas’ Fatah party in June, senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq let the West Bank-led government have it on Monday. The Ma’an News Agency quoted Marzouq of accusing the West Bank-led government of “running the West Bank only and not a penny of its budget was allocated to the Gaza Strip.” Furthermore, he said they had not done any projects in Gaza and said claims by the government to have rebuilt thousands of Gaza houses are “not true.”
The Hamas grievance comes as Israel has again been in the news for their naval blockade of Gaza, which is designed to prevent weapons and items that can be used for military-purposes from reaching terrorists. Not only are the critiques of such efforts unfair, but Israel allows thousands of tons of aid, construction materials, and goods to enter Gaza via land crossings.
Egypt, another country on the border with Gaza, has also limited what can enter or leave the Strip.
The US, meanwhile, pointed out that failure to deliver on promised aid has been a problem for Gaza. Spokesman Mark Toner, in comments released by the State Department, told reporters on Monday that “frankly, some of those pledges that have been made have not been fulfilled, and we certainly encourage our international partners to take steps to fill the financial gap in Gaza funding.”
Toner said the US has already fulfilled “97 percent of our $414 million in assistance that we pledged for Gaza reconstruction efforts last fall.” He noted that while access to Gaza to deliver aid can be improved, “that’s something that’s incumbent on Hamas and other organizations to ensure that the security exists that this assistance can be delivered.”
Terror attacks on border crossings have been a problem in the past, and access is sometimes closed during times of rocket attacks from Gaza.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, June 29, 2015)