Hamas rally in Gaza, Monday
Photo: Reuters
Hamas spends $2M on anniversary celebrations
Political groups in Gaza criticize Palestinian organization for spending excessive amounts of money on festive rally while most residents forced to live off UN aid
The Fatah movement and other Palestinian political groups have criticized the Hamas organization for spending about $2 million on its anniversary celebrations, while most of the Gaza Strip's residents are forced to live off United Nations aid.


The main rally marking Hamas' 22nd anniversary was held in Gaza earlier this week and was attended by tens of thousands of the Strip's residents. According to sources in Gaza, Hamas pressured the residents, particularly those living in refugee camps, to take part in the rally.


According to reports, refugee camp dwellers were threatened to attend the rally or lose aid coupons provided by the international organizations which are active in the Strip.


Hamas' expenditures included public transportation, advertising and marketing – including printing banners and instruments with the movement's symbols.


Meanwhile, sources in Gaza have reported of a new corruption affair in Hamas' transportation ministry. According to one testimony, a senior ministry official named Ziad Harara took tens of thousands of dollars and disappeared. Some claim he left the Strip, perhaps to one of the United Arab Emirates countries.


This affair is related to the driving studies industry in the Strip. According to reports, senior transportation ministry officials take NIS 2,500-3,000 (about $658-790) for issuing a driving license, even for people who do fail to meet the driving test's demands. Hamas government workers receive a $100 bribe for letting people pass a theory driving test without taking it.


Doron Peskin is head of research at Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd.


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