Ynet News reports the terrorist gang Hamas has imposed a new import tax on “non-essential” items imported into the Gaza Strip. “The announcement has local merchants fuming, with some threatening to cease imports into Gaza altogether,” writes Ynet.
The “non-essential” goods affected by this tax will include “a variety of crops, meat, fruits, vegetables, clothing and electronics. Most of the items are imports from Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.” The tax will begin at 1% and “eventually” increase to 10%. Increased taxes and heavier restrictions upon the use of the Gaza’s spotty electrical grid also appear to be in the near future.
Hamas officials claim they needed to impose this tax to hold the very fabric of Gaza society together. Critics note that, contrary to Hamas’ claims, very little study of how the tax will affect Gaza’s fragile economy was conducted, and the input of the affected merchants was not sought. Ynet notes that even some Hamas political representatives are saying the new tax will increase unemployment and deepen poverty in Gaza.
A Hamas “parliamentarian” described the imperative for the import tax as necessary “to ease the suffering of the poor in the Gaza Strip. We’ll collapse as a society in Gaza if we do not impose these taxes. It’s not much but it will benefit the citizens of Gaza – especially the security police who need money for cars.”
Yes, doubtless the poor residents of Gaza will feel better knowing they are paying more for meat, fruit, vegetables and clothing so that Hamas “security police” can have new cars. Hamas officials have already begun criticizing business owners who protest the law. “The increase falls on the consumer, not you, so why this vicious attack?” Parliamentarian Jamal Nassar snapped at a group of unhappy merchants. “None of you are affected. It’s the citizens who are. If I am bad for the citizen, let him not vote for me.”