Hamas Declines to Make Gaza “the Singapore of the Middle East”

Last week Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli defense minister, proposed building both an airport and a seaport in Gaza and creating industrial zones that would employ thousands of locals—if Hamas agreed to demilitarization and the return of the bodies of Israeli soldiers. The rulers of the Strip quickly turned down the deal. Bassam Tawil comments:

Only Israel has ever made such an offer to Hamas. Such a plan would vastly improve the living conditions of Gaza’s population. . . . A seaport and an airport would place the Gaza Strip on the global map and open it to investors not only from Israel but from many other countries as well. [While] Arab and Islamic states . . . are unlikely to rush to invest in Gaza because, by and large, they despise the Palestinians, . . . there is no shortage of investors in the West who, if given the opportunity and the proper political climate, would not hesitate to invest their money in the Gaza Strip.

Sadly for the residents of Gaza, none of this is going to happen. Their leaders in Hamas, some of whom have accumulated large fortunes and are living comfortable lives in oil-rich Gulf countries, are not interested in alleviating their people’s misery. On the contrary, Hamas wants its people suffering, as bitter Palestinians are perfect candidates for recruitment to the jihad against Israel, the Jews, and the West. . . .

“If we wanted to turn the Gaza Strip into Singapore, we could have achieved that with our own hands,” declared the senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar. . . . Hamas deserves credit for one thing: its honesty concerning its intentions to destroy Israel and kill as many Jews as possible. Hamas does not want 40,000 new jobs for the poor unemployed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It would rather see these unemployed Palestinians join its ranks and become soldiers in its quest to replace Israel with an Islamic empire.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Avigdor Lieberman, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian economy

Maintaining Security Cooperation with the PA Shouldn’t Require Ignoring Its Support for Terror

In accordance with legislation passed last year, the Israeli government has begun to deduct from the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) an amount proportional to what the PA pays to terrorists and their families. Last year, a similar law went into effect in the U.S., suspending all payments to the PA so long as it continues its “pay-for-slay” policy. The PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, has retaliated by refusing to accept any tax revenue collected by Israel—raising concerns that the PA will become insolvent and collapse—while insisting that payments to terrorists and their families are sacrosanct. To Yossi Kuperwasser, Abbas’s behavior amounts to mere extortion—which has already worked on the Europeans to the tune of 35 million euros. He urges Israel and the U.S. not to submit:

Abbas [believes] that influential Israeli and European circles, including the security establishment, view strengthening the Palestinian Authority, and certainly preventing its collapse, as being in Israel and Europe’s best interests. They will therefore give in to the pressure he exerts through the creation of an artificial economic crisis. . . .

[T]he PA leadership’s insistence on continuing wage payments to terrorists and their families, even at the price of an artificial economic crisis, shows once again that . . . the Oslo Accords did not reflect a substantive change in Palestinian national aspirations or in the methods employed to achieve them. . . . If paying wages to terrorists (including the many terrorists whose attacks took place after the Oslo Accords were in force) is the raison d’être for the PA’s establishment, as Abbas seems to be saying, . . . one cannot help asking whether Israel has to insist on maintaining the PA’s existence at any price.

True, Israel cooperates on security issues with the PA, but that serves the interests of both sides. . . . The short-term benefits Israel gains from this security cooperation, [however], are of less value than the benefits enjoyed by the Palestinians, and worth even less when measured against the long-term strategic damage resulting from Israel’s resigning itself to the constant incitement, the promotion of terror, and the political struggle against Israel carried out by the PA. Israel should not do anything to hasten the PA’s breakdown, because it has no desire to rule over the Palestinians and run their day to day lives, but it also should not feel more obligated to the PA’s continued existence than do the Palestinians themselves, thereby leaving itself open to continuous extortion.

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Read more at Israel Institute for Strategic Studies

More about: Israeli Security, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror