LETTER: Israel and Palestine continue playing the blame game
The blame game continues. Everything bad that happens to the Palestinians is Israel’s fault. However, last week, Qatar’s representative in Gaza indicated that the Palestinian Authority (PA) was standing in the way of solutions to the power shortages, water and other problems in Gaza.
In an interview Mohammad al-Emadi said: "I am in contact with senior Israeli officials and agencies and the relationship is great." Al-Emadi has the rank of ambassador and heads Qatar’s National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza resulting from Operation Protective Edge. The current emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, pledged $1bn in 2014 for Gaza’s reconstruction, but has yet to fully follow through.
The money is earmarked for solving the Gaza Strip’s electricity problem, the establishment of a hospital in Rafah, road rehabilitation, homes and a variety of other development projects, with Al Thani saying, "In Hamad alone, we have completed building 2,224 of 3,200 apartments."
But Hamas has been using the aid to boost its own coffers. When the first houses were made available in Hamad last year, Hamas advertised the homes as free, but then charged fees as high as $40,000 per family to connect the utilities. This ploy would have allowed Hamas to reap an estimated $36m (R536m) from Qatar’s generosity. "The Israelis are helping, but there are other parties that are not," added Al-Emadi, making a veiled reference to the PA. He noted that the delay is subject to a dispute between the PA and Hamas, which has not been resolved.
To assist Gaza, Israel has plans to create an industrial zone bordering Gaza to help alleviate unemployment in the Strip. Hamas confirmed last week that it had turned down the offer from Israel to create such an industrial zone.
Where lies the obstacle to peace?