Hamas begins registration for work permits in Israel

Sources in the Gaza Strip say that the registration is not being carried out this time through the Civil Affairs Ministry.

By Baruch Yedid/TPS

Hamas’ civilian offices in the Gaza Strip have begun the registration process for obtaining work permits in Israel.

Sources in the Gaza Strip say that the registration is not being carried out this time through the Civil Affairs Ministry, which reports to the Palestinian Authority. However, Hamas denies that there is a coordination of any kind with Israel.

Some 10,000 Gazans have so far registered for work permits in Israel, after Israel agreed to increase the number of permits to 20,000, according to sources in the Gaza Strip.

Last week, sources in the Gaza Strip reported that upon receiving the agreement to import fuel financed by Qatar from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, the Qataris have demanded that Israel increase the number of work permits.

The proceeds from Hamas’ sale of the fuel are meant to be used to pay the salaries of its officials.

Palestinian sources say the departure of workers to Israel could increase Gaza Strip revenues by up to $80 million a month, including $30 million from Qatari aid sources. Such a volume of income has not been recorded in the Gaza Strip for 15 years.

The wage of a Gaza worker in Israel is expected to reach $100 per day, while the average wage in the Gaza Strip is less than $20. The unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip is currently estimated at 65%.

News has emerged from the Strip on the start of payments to homeowners whose property was damaged during Operation Guardian of the Walls, but Hamas is signaling dissatisfaction with the delay in carrying out the restoration work by Egypt.

Rajib Madhun, a journalist who writes for the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, and who according to sources in the Gaza Strip is in fact a senior Hamas figure, stated that Egypt is operating at a turtle pace, as so far it has met only 5% of its commitments to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip. Madhun claims that this is an Egyptian means of pressure on Hamas.

The pace of reconstruction in the Gaza Strip is very slow due to the unwillingness of the Egyptians to actualize the promises for projects amounting to half a billion dollars, as the Egyptian president declared, Madhun claims. Sources in the Gaza Strip claim that Egyptian workers are slow and that jobs that require a single day last two weeks or more, adding that Egyptians also demand fuel and housing for its workers.

It should be noted that Hamas has recently determined the location of the three new cities that are expected to be built in the Gaza Strip and Hamas has already begun repairing roads, water infrastructure, sewage and electricity.

Hamas claimed at the end of the operation in May that the cost of repairing all the damage would amount to $ 3.8 billion. Muhammad Aboud, who is in charge of reconstruction work in the Gaza Strip, noted Saturday that 1,600 houses had been completely demolished.