Palestinian Hamas militants attend a military drill in preparation to any upcoming confrontation with Israel, in the southern Gaza Strip March 25, 2018. .
(photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)
Since Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza in 2005, the standard of living for the Palestinian people in Gaza has steadily declined, even though Israel gifted the Palestinians with thriving agricultural lands, productive greenhouses and beautiful beachfront communities. From day one of possessing Gaza, the Palestinian leadership began to demolish the greenhouses, raze the infrastructure, including schools and synagogues, and turn the lush farming fields into artillery launching sites. For the past 13 years the citizens of Gaza have suffered greatly, yet somehow the world has always pointed the finger at Israel. Remember, a lie that is told often enough eventually becomes the truth.
But, finally, we are seeing the light. Israel is not to blame for the deplorable conditions in Gaza. It is the Palestinian Authority that has literally kept their people in the dark, limiting them to only four hours of electricity each day and rationing food at a minimum level, all the while blaming Israel.
Who is finally telling the truth? Surprisingly, it is Mahmoud Abbas, the PA president himself. And why is he doing this? Because it is now to his advantage to stir up the people against Hamas, as well as against Israel. He is trying to pressure Hamas into relinquishing control of Gaza to the PA, which governs the Palestinians in the West Bank, and he is applying this pressure by threatening to further curtail the availability of electricity.
Israel has publicly proclaimed that it is ready to help the people of Gaza by providing the fuel to run their electric plants, and Qatar has agreed to purchase this fuel, which has angered Abbas. If conditions for the people of Gaza improve, it will be more difficult to stir them into riotous behavior. Suffering Palestinians are of greater use to Abbas, and if he can’t blame their suffering on Israel, he will blame it on Hamas.
Abbas, headquartered in Ramallah, is declaring the PA to be the only legitimate government of the Palestinian people. He is concerned that Israel and the US will work out some type of peace agreement with Hamas in Gaza, something Abbas says would not be legitimate.
The deputy head of Hamas’s political department publicly revealed that the PA threatened those workers who would transport the fuel – as well as those employed by the electric plants – if the Palestinian people receive more than four hours of electricity a day. Clearly, Abbas does not care about the Palestinian people. He is using them as pawns in his quest to maintain power.
Not only is he holding back the fuel – which powers the plants that provide electricity so desperately needed in order to be gainfully employed and live comfortably – he has also withheld funds specifically earmarked for humanitarian aid to Gazans. It’s time for the people of Gaza to realize who their real enemy is, and for the world to stop blaming Israel.
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The writer is an international broadcaster and journalist who has served in senior level positions with four US presidents.
In the 1980s, however, the IDF seized the land for military use and the bus station was relocated.
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