The slow rehabilitation of Gaza’s civilian life after Operation Protective Edge has raised the ire of residents. Israel has expressed willingness to support the process – Hamas is guilty of delay.
Gaza is working to rebuild civilian infrastructure damaged during Operation Protective Edge. Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the UN have formulated a plan to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip, while ensuring Israel’s security requirements. In contrast, Hamas has announced its opposition to the plan, but did not say whether it would actively work to hinder it.
The Intelligence and Terror Information Center (ITIC) reports that protests continue in the Gaza Strip because rebuilding is proceeding slowly. Dozens of homeless women held a demonstration last week in front of the UNRWA headquarters and called on PA head Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah-Hamas consensus government and the UN to accelerate the rebuilding, warning of a “regional explosion.” Other such protests have become almost commonplace in Gaza.
Osama Hamdan, responsible for Hamas’ external relations, claimed Hamas did not want a renewal of the fighting and sought, at this stage, to prevent another war with Israel. However, he threatened, the “resistance” would “have the last word” unless the situation changed. He reiterated Hamas’ opposition to the oversight mechanism set up by the UN, and ambiguously threatened to act against it.
Hamas-Fatah Rift Prevents Gaza Rehabilitation
Research conducted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) shows that internal strife and Palestinian infighting are the real cause for the hindered rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip.
The JCPA reports that last week Ahmed Assaf, a Fatah spokesman, issued a harsh statement against Hamas accusing it of mounting a “new insurrection” against the PA, undercutting Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, and preventing the Palestinian unity government from extending its sovereignty over Gaza, where it has plans to rebuild the Strip.
This move indicates a new stage in the deterioration of Hamas-Fatah relations in recent weeks. The ongoing split between Fatah and Hamas will undoubtedly hinder the process of Gaza’s recovery, the JCPA asserts.
If the understandings regarding the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, which were achieved with the PA, are ineffective, then the rehabilitation program cannot be implemented. The JCPA further reports that PA officials were not admitted into Gaza, and that their entry was actually banned by Hamas officials at the crossing into Gaza.
The tension between Fatah and Hamas and between Hamas and Egypt has stood in the way of resumed Cairo talks between an Israeli delegation and a single, unified Palestinian delegation under Egyptian patronage, preventing final understandings from being achieved and leaving a lingering, open-ended and volatile situation.
Hamas, in the meantime, is investing its energy in rehabilitating its terror infrastructure, instead of rehabilitating the civilian population under its rule.
Meanwhile, Khaled Al-Batsh, an Islamic Jihad terrorist, blamed the PA for the delays in Gaza’s rehabilitation. ”The Palestinian Authority and the government are responsible for the mismanagement of the [border] crossings,” Al-Batsh told the Hamas daily al-Resalah on Sunday. “They are also responsible for the delay in construction materials entering Gaza, because they agreed on the mechanisms and on the plan of Special Coordinator for the Peace Process, Robert Serry. This bad agreement resulted in a new stranglehold on the people of the Gaza Strip and delayed construction,” he concluded.
Hamas’ stubbornness, political maneuvering and unwillingness to face reality are hindering any rehabilitation process in the Gaza Strip, and their conduct may lead to further bloodshed.
How You Can Help Israel
This delicate situation poses a threat to Israel’s security, as an unstable Hamas means a looming threat to Israel’s citizens, who in time become the target of Hamas’ rockets.
United with Israel is very active in providing bomb shelters to Israel’s civilians threatened by Hamas rocket fire. To support this life-saving endeavor, click HERE.
Author: United with Israel Staff