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Invest in Gaza… - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Transport Minister of the Palestinian Hamas government must have been joking when he invited businessmen and Arab and foreign companies to invest in the Gaza Seaport as his government prides itself on breaching treaties and famishing its own people by rejecting the Oslo Accords.

The Europeans have invested in the anticipated commercial seaport in Gaza and building work has begun so that Palestine can have its first seaport after its first airport was opened and its first airline company has been established in Gaza. Hamas, Jihad and their followers have competed to bring down the agreement with suicide attacks and missiles giving Israel a pretext to destroy the airport and seaport and sabotage all that Yasser Arafat attempted to build up until his death.

Who would invest one hundred million dollars into a port project that has consisted of a hole on the seafront for 12 years?

Which foolish investor would give their money to a country where the government (Hamas) does not respect treaties and where Israel has no hesitance in destroying homes, ports and people?

Perhaps His Excellency the Minister is unaware that countries compete to attract investors and seek to fulfill their every need by facilitating and simplifying laws and offering guarantees and by lowering fees, pleasing investors with banquets and tempting them with profit. The Arab and international investors who expressed interest in recent years to support projects in Gaza have faced problems of corruption and other setbacks and when Fatah lost the elections, the joy of potential investors ended quickly as they were unpleasantly surprised by the fact that the newcomers do not respect treaties.

In fact, money was never an issue in the Palestinian matter. Even the international report issued three years ago indicated that the Palestinian administration has over 600 million US dollars in 79 investments in a number of international markets. In the early nineties, the accounts of the Palestinian Liberation Organization were valued at over 8 billion dollars. Of course, none of that money is left since donor countries have stopped financial aid due to Hamas’ refusal to uphold treaties and soon investments evaporated, and money went to the ruling authorities while the rule went to others.

Today, money and investments are still not the issue if Palestinian parties, not only Hamas, vow to respect signed treaties that protects all that is agreed upon. The majority of the world is prepared to give large sums of aid but what good would that do if it follows the same route as the Gaza port, a big empty hole that has wasted a hundred million dollars?

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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