In Gaza, there is no serious reconstruction and certainly no disarmament. Instead, the Hamas-ruled enclave is gearing up for its next war against Israel.
Three months after Operation Protective Edge, nothing has changed in Gaza. The Palestinian media has been full of reports about how the people in Gaza continue to suffer and how Hamas does nothing to help, preferring instead to invest its time and money in new rockets and terror tunnels.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians whose homes were destroyed in the recent war are still living in tent camps set up by the refugee agency UNRWA. Well over one million Gazans continue to be caught in the middle of an often-violent dispute between Hamas in Gaza and the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Hamas sees violence against Israel as a means of strengthening its own position.
Reconstruction funds totaling USD $5.4 billion that were promised during negotiations in Cairo this summer continue to exist only on paper. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is currently touring the Persian Gulf in an attempt to collect the pledges.
But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the money is not being released because Hamas refuses to honor its agreement to hand over control of Gaza’s border crossings.
Hamas, in turn, blames Israel and Fatah of holding up the money, but it has become clear to both Israelis and Palestinians that the terror group will do anything to prevent the reconstruction of Gaza.
Israel, for its part, has been working for months with the UN to advance the reconstruction in Gaza. But every step of the way, Hamas has scuttled any progress, such as when it suddenly raised taxes on imported cement.
Earlier this week, Hamas forces proudly marched through Gaza City with large missiles and aerial drones, a clear message that the group intends to strike Israel even harder next time, even to the detriment of its own population.