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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Who is Responsible for the Harsh Humanitarian Situation in Gaza?

Filed under: Palestinians

Who is Responsible for the Harsh Humanitarian Situation in Gaza?

The Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah blames Hamas for controlling the Gaza Strip and exploiting its resources for its own private ends and abusing Palestinian residents, while taking advantage of their difficult situation.

Human rights organizations in Israel and around the world repeatedly claim that Israel is still an “occupying power” in the region and responsible for the severe humanitarian crisis there despite Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.  The Human Rights NGOs claim that being the “occupying power” makes Israel totally responsible for the condition of the Palestinian population in Gaza.

On June 12 and 13, 2018, the struggle between bitter rivals Hamas and the Palestinian Authority flared up in demonstrations against the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, where there was a show of support for Gaza and Hamas. The demonstrators called for the lifting of the PA’s sanctions on Gaza. These demonstrations expose the reality in the Gaza Strip, as reflected in the position of the Palestinian Authority itself.

Demonstrations in Ramallah June 13, 2018, demanding cancelation of the PA’s sanctions on Gaza.

The List of Charges against Hamas

In an official notice at the end of its weekly meeting on June 12, 2018, the Palestinian government, led by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, accused Hamas of unlawfully seizing control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, imposing its rule upon the residents, exploiting existing resources for its private interests, and abusing the Palestinian people while taking advantage of their difficult situation.

Below is an excerpt of the notice:

The dark revolution that Hamas carried out [when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in a military coup in the summer of 2007] and the imposition of its rule upon the Gaza Strip with a policy that made life even harder for the residents, including imposing “royalties” under various names, such as fees and taxes for the Treasury that Hamas runs, in business, for gas, and on materials necessary for rehabilitation [infrastructure and buildings], taking control of government land and sharing it among its officials, seizing the electric company, energy authority, and natural resources in the [Gaza] Strip, using electricity for its private needs and then raising income for this [from payments for]electricity, controlling the crossings and the passage of goods and people, who are subjected to various kinds of extortion, such as squeezing high sums of money from the sick in exchange for producing a crossing permit for medical treatment, and controlling the money raised from the medical sector in the Gaza Strip through fees paid for medical insurance, and trading medicines and medical equipment sent to the Gaza Strip… Hamas is determined to put up obstacles and roadblocks to prevent the [Palestinian Authority] government from doing its job and exercising its full responsibility in a practical way, including in the Gaza Strip, in accordance with basic laws and all the laws that have been published with regard to all sectors and fields, without exception, including the reception of government offices and institutions, allowing clerks to return to their place of work, and the transfer of border crossings [to government authority].