Opinion: Hamas is designated by the U.S. and Europeans as a terror organization, yet Israel insists on favoring it over the Palestinian Authority, only speeding up the process of Gaza’s rulers taking control over Ramallah as well

The outcome of Israel’s latest military campaign in Gaza can be examined from different perspectives.

Not all of them would be in line with the Israeli point of view, and some would even contradict it, rejecting the euphoria over IDF’s alleged “win” over the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Israel destroys alleged arms storage in Gaza building
Israel destroys alleged arms storage facility in Gaza building (Photo: Getty Images)


That is natural. History is always told from the perspectives of the victors.

But, acceptance by Israeli governments of a new Palestinian entity called the Gaza state, being created between Israeli and Egyptian borders is cause for concern – so is the belief that the Jewish state must somehow support it.

Israeli leaders have come to accept a Hamas rule in Gaza, despite its bitter feud with the Palestinian Authority and its internationally accepted designation as a terror organization.

מצעד צבאי בעזה
The Hamas military wing on parade in Gaza in July


“Hamastan” in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank – and you’ve got yourself a solution for the long-lasting conflict. A three-state one.

Except, there is no such solution, it is a dangerous delusion that will shatter in the face of a dire reality.

By regarding Gaza as a separate entity, the Israeli government ignores the Palestinian national ethos, but also the PA’s economic control of the Strip.

I refer the reader to surveys of the Palestinian economy, conducted by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which show that the PA continues to finance the civilian administration in Gaza and pay salaries to the tens of thousands of public servants working there.

The World Bank and IMF found that some 160,000 Palestinians work in Israel officially, and some 10,000 more enter the country to work illegally, both from the West Bank and Gaza.

פועלים פלסטינים חוצים מרצועת עזה לישראל במעבר ארז
Gazans line up to enter Israel for work at the Erez border crossing (Photo: AFP)


Thanks to those workers, the GDP of the Palestinian Territories (which include West Bank and Gaza) rose to $6,500 as far back as 2019, which is equal to the GDP of India. Based on data gathered by PA’s donor states, I can estimate that the GDP in the West Bank alone is closer to $9,000, while in Gaza it stands on $3,000, hence averaging $6,500.

Gaza’s economy is kept alive by Ramallah with the support of the U.S., European countries and wealthy Arab nations.

The money, for the most part flows through the PA. Income from Gaza exports is a minor contribution to its economy, where the unemployment rate is sky high.

Electricity and water services, transportation, communication, health and education – have all been neglected and are worn out.

Certain matters suffer from having duplicate administration of both Hamas and the PA, while the taxes paid by West Bank residents support the residents of Gaza, who in turn pay their taxes to Hamas.

אבו מאזן
Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: AFP)


There is no doubt that neither Israel nor Hamas would want to assume the economic responsibility that is currently on the PA’s shoulders, which renders the option of a separate, independent, state entity in Gaza, under the leadership of Hamas, very unlikely.

Let’s not live under an illusion that Hamas-controlled enclave has a chance of turning into the Mideastern version to Singapore. The best it can hope for is Somalia.

A more realistic scenario would be a Hamas rule over the West Bank as well as over Gaza, or alternatively a future in which the PA once again rules the Strip.

The beating inflicted by the IDF on the leadership of the Islamic Jihad in the three days of fighting, does not advance either of those options. But, it does serve one of them, and that is bad news for Israel.

The greater the legitimacy given by Israel to the current Gaza rulers, the quicker the terror group will succeed in winning control over the West Bank as well.

As reported by Ynetnews