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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The PA has spent $7 billion in Gaza since Hamas took over

Yesterday there was a protest in Gaza against the Palestinian Authority:
Protesters on Wednesday held a rally in Gaza City against Mahmoud Abbas, accusing the president of neglecting his responsibilities to the Gaza Strip.

They carried posters urging the president to resign if he could not fulfill his duties, and reminding Abbas that he presides over all Palestinian people and not just the West Bank.

The PA, thin-skinned as ever, responded with all it supposedly does in Gaza - and unintentionally damning itself.
The Palestinian Authority has spent over $7 billion in Gaza since 2007, Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf said Wednesday.

The Fatah-led government in Ramallah has continued to meet its obligations in Gaza even though Fatah was ousted from the coastal enclave by Hamas in 2007, Assaf said in a statement.

The PA spends around $120 million each month on the Gaza Strip, paying the salaries of around 80,000 civil servants, the Fatah official said.

The Ramallah government pays for all health and education needs in Gaza, including teachers' salaries, books and school maintenance. It also pays Israel around 50 million shekels ($13.37 million) for 120 Megawatts of electricity for Gaza.

Meanwhile, Hamas charges residents for electricity and collects the payments for itself, he said.

Gaza's Hamas rulers now have billions of dollars because the administration has not had to spend any money, Assaf said, adding that there were now over 2,100 "Hamas millionaires."

Assaf also blamed the Hamas government for the ongoing fuel crisis in Gaza, saying Hamas was demanding a discount on fuel from Egypt.

The Egyptian government buys diesel for $1 a liter, but Hamas wants to pay 0.5 shekels a liter ($0.13) and to charge residents 4 or 5 shekels a liter, he said.

The Fatah official said Hamas has stolen privately-owned land in Gaza to build malls for trade, yet has failed to build schools or hospitals.
All this is true. I have noted for years that over 60% of the PA's budget goes towards Gaza - on a per-capita basis, Gazans get more than twice what West Bank residents get from the PA.

But what Fatah is not telling you is that those 80,000 workers (which used to be 77,000, by the way) are sitting at home doing nothing. They are literally being paid not to work.

And it is also not saying directly that the PA's paying for Gaza infrastructure has left Hamas able to purchase weapons and build terrorist tunnels with all that cash it doesn't have to spend on running Gaza. All that cash from Iran is going straight to terror, being indirectly subsidized by the PA - and Western donor funds. Every Grad rocket is being partially paid for, indirectly, by the West.

It is interesting that the PA could have used these billions of dollars as leverage to bring Hamas to its knees, and chose not to. Probably because they are more frightened of a backlash because of Hamas' influence in the mainstream Palestinian Arab population, something that gets downplayed in the West.