Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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moneyDoha, Qatar, December 26 - An office staffer in the political echelon of the militant Islamist organization that governs the Gaza Strip has taken to exaggerating the attainments of his movement with the monies of the organization's chief sponsor, in keeping with the practice of not-for-profit grant reporting everywhere.

Grant writer Yusuf Mubalagha at Hamas's political headquarters in the Qatari capital has employed rhetorical and semantic sleight of hand, vague descriptors, and numerous weasel words in a report to the Qatari government on his movement's use of hundreds of millions of dollars provided by the latter, as functionaries holding analogous positions in NGOs and think tanks have done for decades.

Mr. Mubalagha has described Hamas's use of incendiary kites and balloons against Israeli communities, nature reserves, and farms, for example, as "strides forward in the campaign to liberate Al-Quds from the Zionist usurper," referring to Jerusalem by its Arabic name, when in fact the Islamist organization remains as distant as ever from achieving such a goal.

Elsewhere, the grant writer invokes the dozens of rockets fired at Israeli communities last month, which resulted in several injuries but only one death, of a Palestinian laborer in Israel, calling the two-day barrage "a mighty blow that sent the enemy cowering in his shelters and bunkers," when in fact Israel continued to function more  or less normally during that time.

"We have to justify all the funding Qatar gives us," explained Mubalagha. "That can be a challenge when you have to point to intangible achievements, or achievements that don't lend themselves easily to metrics. Lacking a body count of Jews, there's not as much to go on. So I have to get creative. I can talk up the number of projectiles fired, the number of times Israelis had to run for shelter, and that sort of thing, and make it seems more impressive than it might have been at the time. We do have the resignation of the Israeli Defense Minister to tout, but that will only take you so far. Really it's all about marketing. That's what it comes down to. Standard grant reporting methodology."

His latest report also includes a colorful chart showing the breakdown of funding uses, in which the embezzlement of large sums from Qatari aid by Hamas leaders is included in a section labeled "Infrastructure Investment," giving the impression that said funds contributed to improved quality of life for Gaza Strip residents, or at least to more tunnels in which to hide weapons, fighters, and supplies.

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