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July 15, 2014

Hamas Got Rich As Gaza Was Impoverished

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An article appearing in Ynet on July 15 by Doron Peskin reveals how leaders of Hamas have become fabulously wealthy at the same time that the Gaza Strip has fallen deeper into poverty and disrepair.

Israel vacated the Gaza Strip in 2005, the Palestinians elected a Hamas government, which in 2007 completed the take-over of the Gaza Strip by violently ejecting the remaining Fatah officials. At the time, many explained popular support for Hamas as unrelated to its hardline stance against Israel. Instead, the conventional wisdom attributed Hamas's electoral victory to its reputation as untainted by corruption in contrast to the corrupt practices of the ruling Fatah party.

The article reveals the rapid accumulation of wealth by the top-echelon of Hamas since taking power. The wealth was acquired both in the old fashioned manner of robber barons, by taxing goods coming into Gaza through the smuggling tunnels, and in the relatively new way by investing in enterprises utilizing funds they secretly control. The article does not explore how much of this wealth indirectly derives from Western aid. The Palestinian economy is heavily subsidized by Western nations and money is fungible.

The accumulation of wealth by those in power at the expense of the general population is an oft-repeated story, but in the case of Hamas and the Gaza Strip there is the additional factor of the constant imploring of the Western world to provide aid to the Gazan population. Such revelations should undermine the credibility of those who blame the Gaza Strip's impoverishment on Israel and contend that if only harsh Israeli restrictions were removed, Gaza would flourish.

The article provides a glimpse of a more cynical reality. While the Hamas government encourages the Palestinian population to dedicate itself to the cause of "resistance," accept self-sacrifice, even to the point of welcoming "martyrdom," Hamas leaders busily conduct real estate deals and shuffle vast sums from one bank account to another for the purpose of enriching themselves and their families.

Posted by SS at July 15, 2014 11:29 AM

Comments

People would do well to remember as an example of corruption -- Arafat, who was a multi milionaire when he died and his wife lives in luxury now

Posted by: Paul at July 18, 2014 11:05 AM

A shame that the Western World has fallen for
Gazans and other's in this region's "poor me" cry.

Posted by: Selma Soss at July 19, 2014 01:51 AM

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