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Hamas' warning to abandon ruling Gaza explains severity of crisis
Last Updated: 2017-08-18 08:51 | Xinhua
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Islamic Hamas movement's recent threats to abandon the administration of the Gaza Strip explains how severe the crisis is in the coastal enclave, and sends clear messages to foreign parties to take immediate actions to end the crisis, according to analysts and observers.

Several analysts, who spoke to Xinhua, ruled out that Hamas would initiate a military escalation with Israel because this would be a high-price choice and it would be hard for the Gaza Strip's populations to bear it amid a series of severe crises they are currently passing through.

Two days ago, Hamas deputy chief Khalil al-Hayya announced that the movement is checking the possibility of ending its control over the Gaza Strip and creating a status of political and security vacuum to attract the world's attention to the severe humanitarian crisis that the coastal enclave is undergoing these days.

Hamas' plan, according to al-Hayya, includes creating a political and security vacuum, abandoning any role in administrating the Gaza Strip and assigning the civil police to maintain security, while Hamas armed wing, Qassam Brigades, and other factions' armed wings will be in charge of controlling the field.

Hamas has been controlling Gaza Strip since mid-2007 after rounds of internal fighting with forces loyal to the Palestinian National Authority. Since then, Israel has imposed a strict blockade on movement of people and goods in the Gaza Strip, home to more than two million.

In addition to the blockade, Israel launched three large-scale military operations against the Gaza Strip. The first was at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, the second was in November 2012 and the latest was in the summer of 2014 and had gone on for 50 consecutive days.

Such a situation caused high levels of poverty and unemployment among the enclave's population, as well as a severe shortage of basic services, particularly energy and water.

The United Nations has warned on several occasions that Gaza would be an "uninhabitable" region if its crises continue to worsen by the year 2020.

Mustafa al-Sawaf, a Gaza-based political analyst, said Hamas' threat to abandon administrating Gaza was a message to urge Israel and the international community to end the siege.

"Such an option would mean a political and security vacuum in Gaza which opens the door to all possibilities," he said.

He believes that "Hamas' plan may be the last appeal either to those who impose the siege or to those who are watching it, feel satisfied for it and support it in different ways."

"It is the responsibility of Israel, the international community and the countries of the region. Either everyone bears responsibility and ends the siege or bears the consequences of the political and security vacuum and its catastrophic consequences," al-Sawaf told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, Talal Oukal, another Gaza-based political analyst said that implementing Hamas threat without a realistic plan to manage Gaza "will mean strengthening the line of chaos internally and escalation with Israel."

"The official approval of Hamas plan means isolating the movement and putting it into the box of the non-calculated adventures, and the results will lead to weakening the movement and contribute in reducing its popularity," Oukal told Xinhua.

He went on saying that "the residents of the Gaza Strip do not want to be thrown into a new destructive war with Israel after they have been hit three times in the past 10 years," adding that the plan is primarily aimed at getting other factions involved in ruling Gaza to reduce the burden without losing its power.

Ties between Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Party have seen more complications recently amid a lack of prospect of a Palestinian reconciliation that would end the internal division so far.

The two rivals have already reached a series of bilateral understandings within a comprehensive framework together with the Palestinian factions, however, they failed to put an end to the internal division and restore unity between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The two groups have taken a series of actions, considering that they gradually contributed to the consolidation of the situation of division, especially with regard to Hamas taking full administrative and security control in the Gaza Strip.

Since its takeover of the Gaza Strip, Hamas has set up its own authority by appointing more than 40,000 civil and military employees and extending full control of the Strip.

In contrast, the PNA continued to pay salaries to 46,000 employees in the Gaza Strip after most of them were asked to stop working immediately after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip, while spending on other basic services such as electricity, water, health and education.

A month ago, the Palestinian consensus government decided to transfer 7,000 Palestinian civil servants to early retirement three months after it imposed discounts of more than 30 percent on all its employees in Gaza.

Political activist Mustafa Ibrahim believes that there is no more effective and less costly alternative for Hamas to make a real and serious effort to achieve Palestinian reconciliation through concrete steps.

"Hamas must make more serious efforts to reach an end to the internal division and withdraw the pretexts of the measures imposed by the Palestinian Authority on the Gaza Strip in preparation for a genuine national partnership," Ibrahim told Xinhua.

He stressed that the achievement of reconciliation is mainly linked to "the promotion of national reconciliation on partisan interests," which is the most useful option for Fatah or Hamas to continue to divide.

"Hamas is very concerned about keeping the specter of a new war on the Gaza Strip, while sticking to the option of armed resistance. It is trying to send a message to Israel that it will no longer keep silence to the siege of Gaza and making its population starve," he concluded.

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