TEL AVIV — The Gaza Strip will soon begin receiving $15 million every month in aid from the United Arab Emirates for reconstruction, according to Samir Masharawi, a former Fatah official and current associate of Mohammed Dahlan, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ main political rival within Fatah.
Masharawi, who handles cooperation with Hamas on behalf of Dahlan, said the financial aid is due to begin next month.
Hamas and Dahlan, under Egyptian mediation, reached a deal for cooperation in June that gave Dahlan a role in Gaza’s foreign relations and made him responsible for raising funds for the reconstruction of the Strip. The financing will come mostly from the Emirates, where Dahlan has been living in recent years and where he maintains very close relations with local leaders and is considered an adviser to Mohammad bin Zayed, heir to the kingdom of Dubai.
According to Masharawi, a special fund has been established that will include representatives of Palestinian organizations and will be trusted with projects in the field of infrastructure and humanitarian assistance “in order to alleviate the distress of the residents of the Gaza Strip.”
In an interview with Egypt’s Youm7 paper, Masharawi said, “The Emirates and other countries have begun transferring money to the fund that will operate under Egyptian supervision in order to fulfill the demands of the Strip and its problems.”
Masharawi noted that reconstruction and development work on the Rafah border crossing is ongoing and it will serve not only as a civilian crossing but for goods as well. “Members of the fund requested that the Egyptians take action to operate the crossing regularly,” said Masharawi, while suggesting that this will happen upon completion of reconstruction and development work on the crossing.
He emphasized that the funds won’t be transferred to Hamas and the money will go directly to projects operated with Egyptian oversight in cooperation with the Emirates and Egypt.
Masharawi didn’t forget to criticize the Palestinian Authority and blamed it for being responsible for the blockade of Gaza. “Egypt takes care of its national security and that obligates them to act to alleviate the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip from the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority which will lead to an explosion of the situation and to more extremism, so Egypt is investing much effort to relieve the Gaza Strip,” he said.
The Palestinian official continued in his aggressive stance toward the Palestinian Authority and its leader Abbas.
“We would like for all these steps in the Gaza Strip to be carried out by the Palestinian Authority and president Abbas, and Egypt is investing efforts on the issue, but … Abbas dragged out the time, forcing Egypt to act directly before sources in the Gaza Strip in order to protect its national security,” said Masharawi. “What Abbas is doing, and the pressure he’s putting on the Gaza Strip, from the freezing of salaries, stopping the passage of the sick and stopping the funding of electricity, will all have negative consequences on the Strip that will lead to an explosion toward Egypt as well.”
Masharawi confirmed that a Hamas delegation led by the movement’s chief in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, met with Dahlan in Egypt and it was agreed that Marsharawi himself would visit the Strip soon in order to check the implementation of the understandings between the two sides.