Knesset speaker: Without international supervision, donor money to Gaza will bolster Hamas

Edelstein criticized Cairo, the donor conference's host, for not inviting Israel, saying that it would have been more effective if Israeli representatives were there.

Yuli Edelstein (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Yuli Edelstein
Donors’ aid money will not help the citizens of Gaza if the international community does not ensure the funds don’t reach Hamas, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said on Sunday.
“The damage coming from a lack of supervision is double. Nothing will reach the population [without supervision] and Hamas’s temptation to start a new round of violence once it strengthens itself will be great, so all of the money invested in rehabilitation will go down the drain,” Edelstein told Israel Radio.
He also criticized Cairo, the host of Sunday’s international donors conference, for not inviting Israel, saying it would have been more effective if Israeli representatives were present.
Edelstein stressed that, if so many countries and organizations are taking the responsibility upon themselves without including Israel, they should think about what happened during Operation Protective Edge.
“Anytime a missile is shot or a tunnel is dug, not only will Israel be hurt – though they won’t care about that as much – they should think about how many toys and medicines won’t be able to reach the children of Gaza,” he stated.
“I hope they realize that if they don’t want to pay [for rehabilitation] over and over again, they should supervise [the use of their donations].”
Because Hamas was isolated during the operation and did not receive support from the Arab public or the international community, the speaker expressed hope that the international community would be careful about its money reaching the terrorist organization.
Meanwhile, responding to a question about whether the conference is an opportunity to spur peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Edelstein pointed out that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the conference “didn’t deal with rehabilitation, but was full of accusations and demands to end the ‘occupation.’ “What he calls ‘ending the occupation’ already happened in the Gaza Strip in August 2005. Since then, there aren’t Israeli soldiers or Israeli residents.
There’s nothing. And what came of it?” Edelstein asked. “Therefore, I would suggest to all those [at the donor conference] to think about Gaza as an excellent example of the lack of Israeli presence and so-called occupation and notice that the situation of the population is much worse.”
Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz, a former IDF chief of staff and defense minister, also stressed that funds to Gaza should be supervised, adding that they must go hand-inhand with demilitarization.
“Without supervision, most of the money will go to Hamas, which will rehabilitate itself,” he said. “The rebuilding of Gaza will be only for show and the rebuilding of Hamas will prepare it for the next round of fighting.
“Israelis have no problem with Gaza being rebuilt for its civilians. I presented the prime minister with a plan of rehabilitation in exchange for demilitarization and he adopted it, as did the cabinet,” Mofaz told Army Radio.
Any funding Hamas receives will go to hurt Israeli citizens, according to Mofaz, who said, “We cannot compromise on Israel’s security.”