UNRWA handouts in Gaza
UNRWA handouts in GazaAbed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Hamas has generally accused Israel of making life miserable for Gazans, even though it's been nearly a decade since Israel abandoned the Strip, and Hamas has been in charge since 2007. In general, Hamas has blamed Israel for the high level of poverty in Gaza, as well as the many social problems in Gazan society.

However, one thing, it turns out, is not Israel's fault: The high price of cooking gas. A Hamas publication this week discussed the high price of gas and pointed the finger of blame at local gas companies, who, it says, are fostering artificial shortages in order to drive up the price of gas.

According to the report, the companies make a fat commission on each gas canister they sell to distributors, to the extent that they earn over $4000 for 20 cubic tons of gas – far more than home gas sellers elsewhere. The distributors, in turn, hike the price for consumers, resulting in very high costs for home gas in Gaza. Apparently, the report said, the companies charge less in Palestinian Authority controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, where they also do business.

With that, Israel is not completely off the hook in the PA this week. The publication also cited a “study” that said Israel was poisoning PA areas near Tulkarem in Samaria. The PA made the charge in the wake of a recent fire in a chemical plant near the area.