Perhaps most telling is Tom Gross’s observation that Gaza scores higher on some major economic indicators than Turkey – the country that sent the “Freedom Flotilla” allegedly to “break the blockade” and relieve Gaza’s “crisis.”
In addition, both articles indicate that in Gaza, wealth is staying at the top – as is true throughout the Arab Middle East and the Third World in general. Money concentrated in the hands of foreign aid workers, shady operators, and the government – which builds flashy facilities that are of dubious benefit to the wider population – is an all-too-familiar picture. The economy minister who says that “The sons of Hamas were prevented in the past from working and participating, but today there are opportunities for them” – is being almost disarmingly candid about it.
That is by no means to suggest that, if Hamas is in some ways adopting the typical profile of a corrupt patronage network, it has become less serious about its Islamist, kill-Israel ideology. It does, however, suggest that whatever the actual impact of the Israeli-Egyptian blockade while it lasted, the problem with Gaza’s economy is much more structural and will continue as long as Gaza stays mired in authoritarian practices.
None of this stopped President Obama, in the aftermath of the flotilla incident, from pledging a further $400 million in aid to the West Bank and Gaza – continuing an ostensible Western largess that is particularly blind and feckless. In Gaza, strengthening the ruling class – despite whatever rosier intentions – means strengthening Hamas terror. What this entails was evident, for instance, when one of Hamas’s Grad rockets hit the Israeli town of Ashkelon on Friday morning.
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