Hamas Official Slams Group, Says It Is Responsible for Dire Situation in Gaza

A Palestinian Bedouin woman washes a bowl on October 22, 2013 at an encampment where she lives with her family in tents amid harsh living conditions with no electricity in southern Gaza City.

JERUSALEM – A senior Hamas official recently issued a strong criticism of his movement, saying it is responsible for the dire conditions of life in the Gaza Strip.

Ahmed Yousef, formerly an adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, who served as Hamas prime minister in the Strip, wrote in a column published over the weekend that Hamas preachers are using their podiums in mosques to make statements that have no meaning, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post.

Yousef called upon the preachers to “live the bitter reality and stop deluding people that we are living in a reality of a utopia.”

“Everyone is shocked because of the reality we are living in and people don’t stop talking about the pain and tragedy,” the Hamas official was quoted by the Post as saying.

Hamas rulers, Yousef charged, have failed to improve living conditions in Gaza.

“We have waited 10 years to see the Virtuous City that some promised us,” he said, referring to Hamas’s decade-old control of Gaza following its overthrow of the Palestinian Authority. “But unfortunately, conditions have worsened and the poor have become even more poor.

“We have terrified students, who were dreaming of getting a job, offering them a bleak future. We drove these students to ride boats of death in the hope of living.”

Yousef’s last comment referred to the many Palestinians who have tried to flee the Gaza Strip aboard smugglers’ boats, hoping to reach Europe.