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Hamas's Gluttony - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A few days ago, a striking statement was made by Palestinian sources in Damascus through Asharq Al-Awsat, suggesting that the Hamas Islamic movement is financially thriving.

At a time when the people of Gaza were left without a loaf of bread, Hamas was paying approximately 18,000 militants who are associated with the movement- what amounts to 16 million dollars a month.

This statement comes at a time when United Nations Special Humanitarian Envoy, Mr. Abdulaziz Arrukban, highlighted to the Kuwaiti “Alqabas” newspaper the tragic Palestinian humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, and how 60 percent of the population survives on 1.5 dollars per day, while 80 percent solely depend on aid for survival.

This is a puzzling matter; who should we believe? The UN special envoy speaking of a tragic situation in Gaza, or rival Palestinian sects accusing the brotherhood movement of financial gluttony?

Bewildered by the conflicting statements of Hamas’s opponents and the international envoy, I came across a statement by the official spokesman of the Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, which helped put things nicely into perspective.

Abu Obaida, spokesperson of the Al Qassam Brigades revealed that his group has developed into an army similar to major professional armies, in terms of the level of preparation and precision, which was achieved by the recruitment of many of Gaza’s youths; the movement continues to recruit youth and develop its capabilities and its fighters.

So how can there be talk of lifting the Gaza siege and relieving the distress of its people, while Hamas concentrates all its efforts on recruiting and providing for its thousands of fighters. It is clear that Hamas’s priority is to look after its militants, at the expense of Gaza’s people and their suffering! Isn’t this a deliberate exploitation of their humanitarian suffering, their poverty and need?

This also raises a pressing question regarding the ceasefire which Hamas committed to with Israel. Was it to relieve the suffering of Gaza’s people and bring some order to their lives after a long period of agony? or was it a chance by Hamas to exploit and consolidate its coup against the Palestinian Authority, as well as suppressing their opponents in Gaza by firing them from their jobs in education, healthcare and other institutions in Gaza in an effort to impose its brotherhood’s ideology?!

Aside from the movement’s power reinforcement in Gaza, it is obvious that the Hamas truce (as I mentioned in a previous article) comes with the instructions of keeping a low profile in Lebanon, Gaza, and other places, while all considerations indicate that Hamas’s Leaders last concern is the Gaza people’s suffering.

Hamas has learned nothing from its past mistakes, and will reverse its coup and its dividing of the Palestinian front. Equally, it is not concerned with the suffering of Gaza’s people, while their talk of dialogue and negotiations with Fatah is disingenuous and merely a time-stalling tactic.

However, Hamas and its policies are not to be blamed, but those who fund it, and support it politically. They are the beneficiaries of the Palestinian cause and partners in the suffering of Gaza’s people.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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