Hamas personnel in Erez border point
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The donors conference for the reconstruction of Gaza- an evaluation
Earlier this week a big conference was held in Cairo to collect donations for the reconstruction of Gaza after the last war. It ended in what appeared to be a great success: while the exceptions were to collect 4 billion Dollars- the commitments mobilized were around 5.4 billion. Nevertheless, in contrast to what might be expected a concluding press conference that was scheduled to take place by the chairmen of the event- presidents Sisi, Abbas, and Norwegian foreign minister to announce this great success – did not take place. Instead the Norwegian foreign minister declared this happy result in a shy corridor briefing. So, already on the same day the mood was of a failure and not of success.
It took another day to discover that the figure of 5.4 billion included also the aid to the needs of the West Bank- actually on the basis of 50:50. So, the Gaza reconstruction needs were met only in less than 3 billion.
But the arithmetic is even more complicated. Qatar announced the largest commitment- 1 billion Dollars. This challenged the entire Egyptian strategy to alienate Hamas, because Qatar – beside Turkey – is the staunchest Hamas ally in the region. In a way, the entire current crisis began after Qatar's ability to continue financing Hamas was blocked by Saud-Gulf-Egyptian policy not to finance Moslem Brothers movements across the region.
The Qatari generous offer means that the donors' community will bypass Arab veto on financing Hamas.
It is even graver than that. In order to manifest the return of Ramallah's rule over Gaza a publicized visit of Ramallah's based Hamdallah's "accord government" took place in Gaza- but the impact was opposite to what was expected – Hamas proved that it was the sovereign in Gaza- it did not allow the government to enter the formal location of Prime Ministry and the session took place in the private house of Abu Mazen. Hamas security on their uniforms safeguarded the convoy and even in Erez checkpoint Hamas military personnel on its uniforms populated the guarding tower overlooking the Ramallah personnel on the their uniforms that is scheduled to take responsibly on the checkpoints connecting Gaza with Israel and Egypt. The security personnel that arrived from Ramallah were allowed to dress in uniforms only on the checkpoint- but entered Gaza in civil dress. According to our Fatah sources – Hamas took away their pistols to return them after they left Gaza.
This is very serious matter as once there is a strong drive to make the Gaza rebuilding project a success it may mean that the political results of the war will give the victory to Hamas with all its implications on the Palestinian Authority, To Israel and the stability of the Middle East. A bad token can be seen in the joint visit of Ramallah seniors and Hamas top echelon officer Gen. Salah a-Din Abu Sharkh in Rafah checkpoint. Gen. Abu Sharkh is one of the responsible on the smugglings from Sinai to Gaza. This means that "a success by all costs" may legalize Hamas smugglings….
UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon is now visiting Gaza escorted by Hamas security personnel.
But the donor community is not in a hurry – at least in statements. The EU representative, Catherine Ashton said that this is the last time that the donor community will finance war damages in Gaza. They want guarantees that this was the last war. So far they cannot be satisfied.
This entered the issue to another complication: the PA demanded recognition in Palestinian state as guarantee that this will be the last war while Hamas did not see the connection and demanded quick action before winter. The split of the donation between Gaza and West Bank increased disputes between Hamas and Ramallah on priorities and tools of distributions and so far there is no common ground yet to enable the spread of Ramallah security along the checkpoints. So, the challenge to precede winter cannot be materialized and this can trigger disappointments in Gaza and even the resumption of war.
Sum up: the donors' conference did not succeed in collecting the needed sums for the reconstruction of Gaza and the commitments are not confirmed and the leading contribution of Qatar is provocative to Cairo and Riyadh. Once the donors community will insist on having success by all costs it will turn Hamas the victorious party of the war and already there is recognition of its security prevalence by the international community and Ramallah against the expectations of Cairo.