Peacekeeping: Gaza And The Aid Bandits


January 22, 2009: Gaza is turning into another Somalia. That's because Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that runs the place, is turning a humanitarian disaster into a business. This has been a growing trend over the past two years, since Hamas won an election that put them in charge of the Palestinian government. For decades, much of the Gaza population has been dependant on aid agencies and food relief to get by. Gaza is, technically, a Palestinian refugee camp. Hamas is, technically, an international terrorist organization (that makes no secret of its goal of killing Jews and destroying Israel.) As a result, European nations cut back on their economic aid to Gaza (which amounts to $700 million a year.)

Hamas responded by imposing its own "taxes." Not quite as bad as Somalia, where, for example, the trucks carrying food to starving Somalis, have to pay "taxes" to the warlords whose territory they pass through. Currently there are nearly 300 roadblocks in southern Somalia. The gunmen charge $20-$500 per truck, depending on what they think the driver can afford.

Hamas does tax, as much as possible, Palestinians working for aid agencies. Also lucrative are the "taxes" imposed on businesses. Even busses and individual cars must pay. Another major source of Hamas revenue is the taxes on the smuggling through the tunnels under the border with Egypt. Most of these tunnels were destroyed during the recent Israeli bombing campaign. In response, Hamas has begun hijacking trucks carrying food and other aid. This will either be used for Hamas members (and their families) or sold in the markets to raise more cash.

What the "aid community" has lost sight of is the fact that the idea that the UN was supposed to be "impartial" was not part of the original UN concept. The original idea was that the Great Powers (the West) would use the UN to maintain order. But since the Great Powers couldn't get along, the UN evolved its own ways. The aid community, and all those NGOs that appeared in the last half century, through they were above politics. Now they have received a reality check, and they don't like it at all. In places like Somalia, the aid organizations plead, unsuccessfully in Somalia, for peacekeepers to protect the aid workers and their supplies. In Gaza, the same appeal is being made. But even Israel does not want to return to controlling Gaza (which they did until 2005). Thus a growing portion of the aid coming in will be forcibly diverted to Hamas, who is desperate to raise cash to pay its key followers (most of them armed) and stay in power.





Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close