Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hamas wants money. It receives lies and betrayal

Even before the 2014 Gaza-Israel war ended, it seems that everyone decided that Hamas didn’t have the money or the materials it’d need to rebuild Gaza, parts of which had been devastated by that war. At that time (early August, 2014), it was also decided, apparently, that Hamas wouldn’t be the ones to do the rebuilding (Erin Banco, “Ruined Gaza Will Not Be Rebuilt By Hamas”, International Business Times, August 7, 2014).   
Before the war had ended, conventional wisdom proposed that any reconstruction of Gaza would most likely be left up to humanitarian and other aid organizations on the ground (ibid). It was further decided that Hamas wouldn’t be held responsible for paying for any reconstruction costs (ibid). The costs would be covered by the ‘international community’ (ibid).
Hamas was very lucky. It had started a war. As a result of that very bad decision, part of its Gaza had been pummelled into the Stone Age. Yet it would carry no responsibility for the damage it had brought upon itself.    
By October 2014, seven weeks after the war, the international community appeared ready to come to Hamas’ aid.  Representatives from “dozens” of countries gathered in Cairo (Bill Chappell, “U.S. And Other Nations Pledge $5.4 Billion To Rebuild Gaza”, npr, October 12, 2014). It took them less than a day to decide what to do.
They’d give Hamas billions. News outlets around the world reported the story: these donors pledged $5.4 billion for reconstruction.
Fifteen weeks later—near the end of January, 2015—the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) reported that “virtually none” of the pledged donations had reached Gaza (“UN out of money to rebuild Gaza after donors fail to pay”, National World, January 27, 2015).  What had happened?
Nobody said. Nobody asked anyone what went wrong—or, if they did ask, they didn’t report the answer.
A month after that, UNRWA officials got angry. They accused the ‘world’ of forfeiting on their pledges (Chris Gunness, “The world has broken its promises about rebuilding Gaza – and the children will suffer”, unrwa website, February 24, 2015).
Had all those donors lied to Hamas? Were their $5.4 billion pledges a cruel hoax?
Nobody was saying. Nobody attempted to answer the question.
Two weeks ago, the Gaza story took cruel another turn. We learned that Gaza had apparently become the victim of ‘creative accounting’ (“International donors fail to deliver promised aid to Gaza”, Jerusalem Post, April 13, 2015).
You know about ‘creative accounting’, right? It’s a form of lying. It’s a way to deceive.
Here’s the deception: originally, those wonderfully generous international donors pledged $5.4 billion, as you saw above. At that time (October, 2014), that was a big deal. That much money always is.
But it now turns out that the $5.4 billion never existed. It was a fake number. The amount pledged had only been $3.5 billion (Jerusalem Post, ibid).
Where did the other $1.9 billion go? Nobody said.
Did donors back out? Nobody said.  
Had some donors lied about their pledges? Nobody said. Nobody inquired—or if they had, they weren’t talking about it.
It didn’t really matter. The Gaza reconstruction fund didn’t reach $950 million. Who cared if the original pledges were ‘only’ $3.5 billion?
Now, near the end of April, 2015, we see the consequences of all the lying, deception and creative accounting. Last week, UNRWA reported that, as of April 20, 2015, it has received only enough funds to rebuild 200 of some 9,161 homes destroyed during the 2014 Gaza war (“Gaza Emergency Situation Report”, unrwa usa, April 14-21, 2015). More significant, however, was the fact that it really doesn’t matter how much—or how little—Gaza has received for rebuilding: since the war ended eight months ago, “not a single totally destroyed home has been rebuilt in Gaza” (ibid)--not one.
Truly, Gaza has been abandoned. It’s been betrayed.
No one reports on this. Apparently, no one cares.
Perhaps the G-d of Israel is teaching us a moral lesson here. Perhaps He’s teaching us about what happens when you attack His Chosen, His Treasure--His nation of Israel.

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