Gaza’s dire economic situation is one reason observers cite for the ongoing violent Palestinian protests at the border with Israel. But, Israeli officials say, the blame for the stark economic reality lies with those who control Gaza.
Israel is working hard to prevent the economy of Gaza from collapsing, but Hamas is doing just the opposite, recklessly harming the economic situation of the very people it rules over.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Friday’s Hamas-orchestrated attack on a gas and fuel terminal – the only one that supplies the Gaza Strip – at the Kerem Shalom border crossing.
According to senior Israeli defense officials, Hamas operatives divided rioters into groups and gave them specific instructions on which part of the crossing to attack on the Gazan side – the same side that serves the basic needs of Gaza’s estimated 1.8 million inhabitants.
In what can only be described as utter self-destruction, the rioters, acting on Hamas orders, set fire to a pipeline delivering gas and fuel to Gazans. They also destroyed conveyer belts that send construction material and animal feed into Gaza. The crossing was attacked twice more since then, including during Monday’s mass border infiltration attempt, also organized by Hamas, which resulted in many Palestinian casualties a significant portion of whom were operatives in Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
It will take months for authorities to repair the burned out fuel pipelines. The pipes blazed so hot that they left the concrete roads beneath them in pieces. The Palestinian Authority (PA) had previously constructed the Gazan side of the fuel terminal at a cost of ten mission shekels. Now, the PA will have to decide if it will pay for a new one.
All of this means that the people of Gaza are facing a new, Hamas-engineered, imminent fuel and energy crisis.