Hamas: PA steals Gaza’s money

Hamas is accusing the Palestinian Authority of stealing funds meant for Gaza, causing suffering for Gaza’s civilians. 

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

The Hamas terror organization released a report last week alleging that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been withholding funds from the Gaza Strip, stating that “the ongoing misery of Gazans is by all means a source, which provides the PA with international funds and donations.”

“The PA’s policies of negligence, marginalization and monopoly practiced against the Gaza Strip express injustice,” Hamas stated on its news site Alresalah.

“Although the PA claims that it spends about 47% of its budget on the Gaza Strip,” the citizens of Gaza are still suffering, Hamas, which rules Gaza, charged.

Alresalah said it conducted an investigative report. Although “finding answers was not an easy job” and their requests for information were blocked, they said they managed to go through the Palestinian Authority budget of 2014 and, relying on financial analysis conducted by specialists and financial experts of the budget, uncovered “shocking figures.”

Since Hamas’s violent takeover of Gaza in 2007, the PA “took advantage of the situation and abandoned the Gaza Strip” and its “financial rights,” the report said.

The PA receives grants allocated to operate and develop the Gaza Strip. Forty percent of the funds went to Gaza before 2007 but dropped to a mere 22% of the total budget after Hamas took control.

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According to a report issued by the Palestinian Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS), the estimated budget of 2014 was not as accurate as in previous budgets. There were significant deviations and manipulations compared to the actual, previous figures, and PLC Rapporteur of Budget and Finance Ibrahim Dahbour said the PA manipulates figures and fakes expenses allocated to Gaza in order to manipulate public opinion.

Gaza protest

Gazans protest the situation in Gaza. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Dahbour explained that the PA overlooked the operational and functional expenses of the coastal enclave purposely in the 2014 budget, despite the signing of a reconciliation agreement in April 2014 and the formation of a unity government.

The director of Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN) said the PA’s budget is not transparent at all and it does not specify which provinces benefit from the funds.

The report noted that the PA spends 60% of its budget on salaries, which hits 2$ billion each year.

The PA spent $ 1.4 billion on development expenditure on all institutions and ministries situated in the areas under its control in Judea and Samaria, but no projects were implemented in Gaza, Hamas alleges.

Tensions between Hamas and Fatah, the PA’s ruling party, have been running high ever since the establishment of a unity government.

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Both sides have made mutual accusations of corruption, graft and treason. Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf stated in September that Hamas received vast sums of money donated by Muslims from around the world during Operation Protective Edge but did not use the funds for the benefit of the civilians.

Hamas and the PA appear to be on the brink of civil war, have arrested each other’s operatives and have even planted bombs in an attempt to kill officials and leaders.