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Save the Gaza Strip from conspiracies

Smoke rises after Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes in Gaza City, Gaza on 5 May 2019. [Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency]
Smoke rises after Israel carried out air strikes in Gaza City, Gaza on 5 May 2019 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

I was surprised last Friday by Palestinian Authority media outlets in Ramallah reporting the 15 bombings near the Fatah headquarters in Gaza and the platform established to mark the tenth anniversary of the assassination of President Yasser Arafat, held on Tuesday. The Fatah leadership held Hamas responsible for the bombings, although the Islamic movement denied this and condemned such criminal acts. Hamas also urged Fatah not to point fingers so quickly. The Fatah Central Committee held an emergency meeting led by Mahmoud Abbas and examined the events. Those present at the meeting in Ramallah took turns on television and microphones to blame Hamas and incite public opinion against the movement.

Azzam Al-Ahmed's voice has grown hoarse from accusing Hamas repeatedly and insisting that the commemoration event marking the anniversary of Arafat's would still be held on Tuesday "despite all the circumstances". However, he knows that Fatah's annual even for Arafat is held in Gaza every year and Hamas participates in it because he is an icon of the Palestinian revolution, not as a member of Fatah. So why does Al-Ahmed need to reiterate this so much and challenge Hamas? Isn't this an unnecessary provocation on his part? In his televised statement, he claimed that he had information from Hamas sources who said that Hamas is behind these bombings and so the movement must disclose its involvement voluntarily. This was repeated by Mahmoud Abbas's own statement.

Why didn't Al-Ahmed disclose the information that he claimed to have? The result of the Fatah Central Committee meeting was the cancellation of a delegation to the Gaza Strip, as if Gaza is not a part of Palestine. What is even more strange, and contrary to all norms, is that according to an official statement the Prime Minister of the National Reconciliation Government, Rami Hamdallah, who is also the Interior Minister, cancelled his scheduled visit to Gaza "as a result of security conditions".

It is customary around the world for the head of state or prime minister to attend the scene of any natural disaster or political event, accompanied by their security chiefs, including the interior minister. Who prevented Hamdallah from going to Gaza and forming a committee of impartial judges to investigate these events under his supervision and to take control of the security situation as the acting interior minister? Impartial investigation will inevitably reveal the truth.

Remaining content with pointing the finger of blame at any Palestinian faction will not serve the national cause. It is our right as observers and followers of Palestinian affairs to conclude from the series of events in Palestine that there is a conspiracy against Gaza, beginning with the effort being made to disarm it, destroy its "tunnel" shelters, and exclude it from supervising the reconstruction of the territory. Instead, all of the financial aid provided in this regard is being poured into the PA's accounts and is only given to Gaza through Ramallah.

I remember that the funds allocated for the reconstruction of southern Lebanon by Qatar in 2006 after the Israeli war there did not go into the Lebanese government's accounts. Instead, the money was supervised and managed jointly by the Qataris and the parties concerned with the reconstruction.

Iran did the same thing when it reconstructed the southern suburbs of Beirut. It kept an eye on the reconstruction funds; the money was not given to the Lebanese treasury, it went straight to the people affected and no one else. Why does the PA in Ramallah insist on putting all the reconstruction funds into its accounts?

Qatar presented projects for the reconstruction of Gaza, such as the repair of roads, including Salah al-Din Street and the coast road, as well as the construction of the Sheikh Hamad residential area which was donated to the Palestinians in their time of need. Qatar is also building schools and health centres, as well as other vital projects. These developments face many difficulties and will come to a complete halt next week when hundreds of Palestinian workers will be unemployed because the Egyptian authorities, with the knowledge of the Palestinian Authority, have blocked imports of construction materials, despite the fact that Qatar has pledged to pay the cost of international monitors tasked with monitoring the end use of the materials in an attempt to speed up the process. The PA has remained silent even though it has close relations with the government in Cairo. It seems as if the authority in Ramallah is dealing with the Gaza Strip as an arch-enemy, while it has been begging to negotiate with Israel since 1993 even though the negotiations have achieved nothing.

Although the Fatah Central Committee was moved enough to call a special meeting regarding the bombs in Gaza, it has done nothing about the unrest in Jerusalem. Since last month the city has been anything but calm due to Israel's attacks on worshippers, preventing them from praying in Al-Aqsa Mosque; senior Israeli officials and Jewish extremists have entered the mosque courtyards on numerous occasions. In addition, the Israeli authorities are demolishing the homes of Palestinian Jerusalemites and confiscating their land and property, most recently in the village of Bayt Iksa. The leaders of the Fatah Central Committee have not batted an eyelid at such terrorist acts committed by the Israelis against the Palestinians nor called for an investigation into the attacks on Al-Aqsa. Instead, they remain content with issuing statements that have no value.

I believe that the accusations against Hamas and the actions of the leaders in Ramallah are merely an excuse to disengage with Gaza and cancel the reconciliation which led to the formation of a national unity government. This, of course, would serve Israel's purposes and meet its demands, and allow Israel and Al-Sisi's Egypt to attack Gaza.

In conclusion, I would like to say that those who have free opinions in the Arab world condemn those bomb attacks against the leaders of Fatah in Gaza. It is a heinous criminal act for which those responsible must be punished, but only after fair and unbiased investigations. We also condemn the accusations made by one party against any other parties involved in the Palestinian cause over the events in Gaza without any physical evidence or due process, and no obviously transparent, independent investigation.

Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadid, 11 November, 2014

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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