Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hamas investing in tourism instead of rebuilding

You know how the Gaza Strip is supposedly filled with destroyed houses and how there is no room to build anything new on account of how crowded it is?

Well, Hamas has somehow managed to find the money and space to build their own Islamic tourist traps that they subtly encourage Palestinian Arabs to visit.

And these places aren't public municipal parks. Rather, Hamas charges Gazans to come.

According to articles in Palestine Today and Palestine Press Agency, Hamas has recently opened a "tourist city" north of Beit Lahia that takes up 270 dunams (67 acres.) One park, 86 dunams large, it includes a zoo and pools (an Olympic-sized pool is under construction.) It also hosts religious seminars.

While admission fees are relatively modest - 3 shekels for adults - Hamas seems to be making its money off of the transportation fees, which seem to only come from buses coming from Hamas-sponsored mosques, and those fees can go as high as 50 shekels.

This park is supervised by Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad.

The article also implies that Hamas was one of the investors in the Gaza Mall, and while the mall's spokesman denies this, he refuses to publicize the names of the investors. Prominent Hamas ministers attended the mall opening on Saturday night.