Daily Israel Report

'There Are 1,700 Hamas Millionaires in Gaza'

Fatah opens verbal fire on Hamas, claims its officials are meddling in Egyptian affairs and getting rich off their own citizens.
By Dalit Halevi, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/20/2014, 8:38 PM

Ismail Haniyeh (R) with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal
Ismail Haniyeh (R) with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal
Reuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction went on the offensive Thursday, claiming that Hamas in Gaza is corrupt and "doesn't represent the Palestinian people."

Fatah Spokesman Ahmad Assaf told Erem News that Hamas's attempts to influence Egypt's inner workings are "unacceptable," noting the ties between Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, both of which have been outlawed in the Nile state for their part in terror attacks.

Egypt has done more for the Palestinian Arabs than Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood, who merely spew empty slogans and sell religion according to Assaf. Hamas on Tuesday criticized Egypt for closing the Gaza border with Sinai, calling it a "crime against humanity." The siege has led to power outages.

The Fatah spokesman claimed that while Gaza is one of the poorest places in the world, there are 1,700 millionaires among Hamas members, hinting that the terror group imposes steep taxes on its citizens for goods entering from Egypt and Israel, and that this money finds its way into Hamas officials' pockets.

Assaf finished by praising Abbas, the "Palestinian President," for standing behind his principles and treating any concessions in peace talks as red lines. The spokesman stated Hamas had returned the situation to the way it was before 1967, a somewhat confusing remark, given that it was in 1967 that the Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria came to an end, in the Six Day War.

Widening cracks in Fatah-Hamas relations

The Fatah criticism comes after Middle East expert Prof. Rafi Yisraeli assessed that Abbas's life is in imminent danger from Hamas, which may try to supplant him. In doing so, the group would be aided by the fact that Abbas's term of office ended in January 2009, giving Hamas claims of legitimacy.

Tensions between Fatah and Hamas have been high, with Hamas police in Gaza cracking down on demonstrators supporting Abbas on Sunday, with 13 demonstrators arrested and many reportedly beaten.

Those tensions have also been expressed in Hamas's energy crisis. Hamas refuses to pay the exorbitant fuel taxes imposed by PA on fuel bought for the Gaza government from Israel, a key factor in the Hamas-enclave's repeating fuel shortages.

On Sunday, Gaza was left without power for another day following an outage starting the day before, after the PA transferred only 100,000 liters of the 500,000 liters of fuel it had agreed to sell to Hamas.