Growing more likely each day the Gaza Strip spirals into disarray, its Hamas rulers have no one to blame but themselves, despite turning their ire onto Israel. When Hamas ran out of cash in 2014, they started a war with Israel July 8, 2014, using the Gaza strip as cannon fodder for an expected Israeli assault. Back then, Hamas ruler Ismail Haniyeh, now Hamas’ official leader in exile replacing Khaled Meshaal, ordered Hamas military wing Izz ad-din al Qassam Brigades to open fire, shooting thousands of rockets into Israel. Haniyeh knew Israel would respond with devastating force, leveling a good part of the already dilapidated Gaza Strip. Haniyeh’s motive was clear: Let Israel devastate Gaza, allowing for a multi-billion-dollar donors’ conference from largely sympathetic Gulf State countries. Pledged $6 billion, no one really knows what happened to all the cash.
What’s known today is that Gaza has so little cash and infrastructure, residents can expect power only a few hours a day in the blistering Gaza heat. “What’s needed to happen has not happened, and the indicators are accelerating instead of slowing down,” said Robert Piper, U.N. Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the so-called occupied territories. Gaza hasn’t been occupied since the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pulled Israel out of Gaza Sept. 12, 2005. After winning elections in Gaza in Jan. 25, 2006, it didn’t take long for Hamas to take over Gaza Jun 14, 2007 from the Ramallah-based Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], leaving Palestinians divided between Hamas and the PLO. Watching Hamas run Gaza into the ground, there’s little PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas can do. PLO finds itself helpless against Hamas’ al Qassam Brigades.
Gaza’s 2.2 million residents live in intolerable conditions, largely blamed by Hamas on Israel, whipping up unending hatred, promising eventual victory over Israel. Yet every time Hamas “goes to war,” the Gaza Strip is pounded into the Stone Age, watching its residential neighborhoods and infrastructure destroyed. When Hamas runs out of cash, it’s time to start firing rockets at Israel, hoping for more devastation to justify hefty donations from wealthy Arab Gulf States. ‘In a nutshell, Gaza continues to de-develop in front of our eyes,” said Piper. “Many of the problems stem from the Hamas takeover of Gaza 10 years ago, Israel and Egypt’s blockade of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority’s recent reduction of electricity to Gaza to pressure rival Hamas,” reports NPR’s Daniel Estrin. Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade because of Hamas weapons’ smuggling into the Gaza Strip.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have watched Hamas squander donors’ cash on weapons’ buys, ignoring the promise of residential and commercial infrastructure rebuilding. Offering proof that Hamas repeats the same cycle of running Gaza into the ground, it then starts another war with Israel. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Bahhoum called on Palestinians to attack Israeli military and civilians for Israel closing down Temple Mount. Two Israeli policemen were gunned down July 13 near the al-Aqsa Mosque and Western Wall. Netanyahu immediately called for a closure of Temple Mount, prompting Palestinians calls for more violence. In both Gaza and the West Bank, PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Gaza’s Ismail Haniyeh routinely call for Palestinians to attack Israeli civilians, police and military personnel whenever possible.
When President Trump’s Son-in-Law and White House advisor Jared Kushner met with Abbas June 22, he quickly found out that Abbas considers any act of terror against Israel a right of ”resistance.” “The people of the United States are heartbroken that terrorists brutally gunned down two Israeli police officers,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. “There must be zero tolerance for terrorism. It is incompatible with achieving peace and we must condemn it in the strongest terms, defeat it, and eradicate it,” outlining the new Trump Doctrine. Not since former President George W. Bush did the U.S. reject the Palestinian’s right to slaughter innocents out of “resistance.” With Abbas and Haniyeh promoting terror to achieve political ambitions, it’s non-starter with the Trump White House. Prospects for Mideast peace don’t look good with Palestinians practicing terrorism.
Running Gaza into the ground Trump’s brief foray into Midest peace has all but ended. Before any work can be done on a two-state solution, Hamas and the PLO must embrace the new White House terror policy. Insisting that killing Israeli civilians continues Palestinians’ right-of-resistance will get Palestinians nowhere with the Trump administration. Calling for a new uprising to target Israeli army and West Bank settlers, Barhoum exposes Palestinians ongoing war with Israel. As Hamas diverts attention away from corruption and incompetence in Gaza, the Trump White grows more wary of Mideast peace. Watching Hamas destroy the Gaza Strip, Israel braces for what looks like another destructive war. “It is profoundly unjust and inhuman to put Gaza’s civilians through such an ordeal,” said the U.N.’s report on Gaza. Yet Hamas continues to put cash over Gaza’s well being.