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The One Thing Israel and Hamas Have in Common

The hatred and suspicion of international aid organizations and Palestinian nongovernmental organizations is something Israel and Hamas share. But if Israel allowed the Palestinians to live and prosper, the charities wouldn't even be needed.

There are some junctions where the interests and sentiments of Israel and Hamas intersect. The hatred and suspicion of international aid organizations and Palestinian nongovernmental organizations is one such place. At the same time, though, these sworn enemies – Israel and Hamas – need these organizations, and benefit from their existence and activities. The fellowship of hypocrites.
Hamas is suspicious of the international organizations and Palestinian NGOs that it did not establish itself, because they offer a different way of thinking and behaving, reduce the numbers of families dependent on the movement – and also because many of them are trying to restrict their contacts with Hamas (following the Quartet's orders).
Hamas also plays on the general Palestinian enmity toward these organizations: the very high salaries of the foreigners; the gap in wages between directors and salaried employees within local associations; their irritating and incomprehensible jargon; and the fact that they are a track to some sort of social mobility that few attain.
Hamas controls the Gaza Strip and believes that it is its right to force new rules on the international organizations as well. Hamas charges extra taxes from residents of the Strip and its merchants, so it’s obvious that the movement will also try to benefit from the various organizations, and perhaps from some of its employees. When it does not succeed, it is furious and reviles them.
But could Hamas have managed the Gaza Strip during and after the Israeli military assaults – which are also the outcome of Hamas’ policies, not only Israel’s – without the enormous humanitarian and reconstruction assistance of these groups? No.
It is precisely that humanitarian and reconstruction assistance that Israel is interested in, so that the situation does not get completely out of control. But the difference between Israel and Hamas is still great: Israel is responsible for turning the occupied Palestinian territory into an area overflowing with intricate international mechanisms for development, and a magnet for aid and charity initiatives and handouts.
It is also responsible for the most basic reason (before we get to the dead, the injured and the major destruction from the assaults and the wars): The British Mandate, as an occupying power, allowed the prestate Jewish community to develop economically. If Israel had allowed the Palestinians to manage their lives without all the travel bans and prohibitions on exports and selling that it imposes, and if it had not stolen the Palestinians’ resources (territorial expanses and land, water, minerals, stone, tourism sites) – there would be no need for these aid organizations.
The aid groups and their donations are the safety net that the international community rolled out before the Oslo Accords and now spreads under Israel’s feet. As an occupying power (direct or indirect), Israel is responsible for the occupied population. It consistently shirks this responsibility – before 1994, and even more so today. But Israel is coddled by Europe and the United States, whose donations to the Palestinians are the greatest. Politically, it is easier for them to waste their taxpayers’ money on food packages, sewage systems, mobile housing and water-purification systems than to force Israel to meet its obligations and remove the cuffs by which it binds the Palestinian economy.
With the contributions come the overseas directors and staff of the international organizations. Not all of them arrive with a negative opinion of Israel at the outset. During their work, though, they discover that Israel does everything it can to perpetuate the situation. Their shock, their voices and their reports join the critical opinions of others in this community. That is the price Israel does not like to pay for the safety net.
Now, the indictments against the staff members of two international organizations, who have already been convicted in the Israeli media, are the opportunity for Israel to revile these organizations and present them as having fallen prey to Hamas. Israel has not stopped them from working, of course. But this is another way of silencing the political criticism they raise.

Amira Hass
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.736067Schermata 2016 08 10 alle 10.06.45

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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