Hamas has ordered the demolition of 75 homes belonging to the Fatah-affiliated Abu Amrah clan in a Gaza City neighborhood. Members of the Abu Amrah clan have protested this decision at the offices of the Palestinian Legislative Council. According to Abu Salah Abu Amrah, “We are refugees and we have been living in this area for tens of years.” Another resident, Hazim Abu Hmeid, claimed, “When our children come back from school, they will not know where to go because by the time they arrive, their houses will have disappeared. The only place they will have is the street in this cold winter time.”
The Hamas government claimed that the Abu Amrah family was living upon illegally built public lands, yet given past tensions between the Hamas government and the Fatah-affiliated Abu Amrah clan, these accusations are highly suspect. Last year, the Hamas government also demolished many homes belonging to the Abu Amrah clan and arrested many of the clans’ male members. In 2007, members of the Abu Amrah were arrested by Hamas under the pretext that they possessed arms, drugs and stolen goods. Indeed, since Hamas has taken over Gaza, Hamas has persecuted any one associated with Fatah. For this reason; claims that the Abu Amrah clan who have been living in that area of Gaza since 1948 were squatters appears to be a convenient excuse.
While the Palestinian Legislative Council offered the Abu Amrah clan an alternative place to live, members of the Abu Amrah clan claim that the offer is not enticing for the places offered to them were remote areas without services. Not surprisingly, the international community has nothing to say about these 75 destroyed homes since the blame cannot be placed upon Israel.
Whenever Israel destroys Arab homes built illegally upon state land, there are usually plenty of international condemnations, even when Israel offers to relocate the families to areas with decent services if they cooperate. When Israel destroys Jewish homes built illegally, the international community is content. Yet when Hamas destroys the homes of a Fatah-affiliated clan, there is a deafening silence, thus highlighting the hypocrisy of the international community.
Indeed, as the international community looks for every excuse in order to condemn Israel, the European Union and other international players have turned a blind eye to Hamas atrocities by not coming out forcefully against incidents such as this and by sending humanitarian aid to Gaza without ensuring that the aid truly reaches its intended targets.
As one Palestinian named Khader asserted, “People who are not in with Hamas don’t see any of the relief goods or the gifts of money. Hamas supporters get prefabricated housing, furnishings and paid work. We get nothing. For us, and for many of our friends, it doesn’t make any difference whether the world is trying to help us.” While it is true that most of EU contributions to Gaza go to various humanitarian projects, international human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky has noted, “even noble projects designed to help Gazans, effectively fund the terror regime which controls the Gaza Strip; while the EU simply cannot guarantee that money for these projects will not end up in the hands of Hamas and used for terror.”
By Rachel Avraham