Hamas: Gaza is not under occupation

Tuesday, October 02, 2012 |  Yossi Aloni

"Gaza has been freed from occupation. Gaza is not under siege, and her connection with the outside world has become a lot easier with visitors from around the world coming to Gaza beaches."

The man behind that statement is none else than Mahmoud Al-Zahar, one of the founders and top Gaza-based leaders of Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules Gaza.

Al-Zahar made the remark in an interview with the Bethlehem-based Palestinian news agency Ma'an. What he said actually lines up with what Israeli spokesmen have been saying since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, and Israel's Foreign Ministry is keen to play up that fact.

Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem are working to push Al-Zahar's quote to Israeli embassy staff around the world, and encouraging them to use the Hamas leader's words as a counter to further accusations that Israel has Gaza under siege.

In the interview, Al-Zahar went on to say that Gaza's economic situation is improving, thanks primarily to new agricultural crops grown on the farms and settlements of the Jews who were forcibly removed. "We are self-sustaining in many areas, except for oil and electricity," said Al-Zahar.

Al-Zahar insisted that the poor economic conditions in Judea and Samaria (the so-called "West Bank"), which is ruled by the rival Palestinian Authority, are the result of reliance on American and Israeli economic support and cooperation.

Al-Zahar concluded that, as Hamas knew from day one, the outcome of the peace process with Israel has been entirely negative. The two state solution is dead, he said.

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