Soul searching in Hamas. Dr Ghazi Hamad, the spokesperson of the Palestinian government, waged scathing criticism against the Palestinian public on Sunday, blaming the Palestinians for turning the Gaza Strip into a lawless and violent place.
"Have mercy on Gaza," he wrote in an op-ed published on Sunday.
"After the withdrawal from Gaza, we hoped for a bright future, we thought that this year we will reap the fruits of our sacrifices. But I ask myself today – why did the occupation return to Gaza. The occupation – wise men and commentators will say – is responsible. I am not defending the occupation, but I want to stop at our mistakes, which we are accustomed to blame on others."
Palestinian workers in Gaza hothouse (Photo: AFP)
"Anarchy, wanton killing, land steeling, thuggery … is the occupation responsible for all?," he asked, saying that the Palestinians should stop espousing conspiracy theories which "limit our thinking."
Hopes of economic prosperity and peace in the Gaza Strip after Israel withdrew settlers and troops from there have been systematically shattered as the Palestinian Authority failed to enforce law and order and provide basic services to 1.3 million Palestinians living in the tiny coastal strip.
Hundreds of dunams of agricultural land evacuated by Jewish settlers were expected to create as many as 4,000 jobs and generate millions of dollars in revenue. But corruption in the ranks of the company assigned the task of managing the land crippled the once rosy agriculture of Gush Katif and many of the land is now used as training bases by Palestinian groups.
'Let's admit we erred'
"We didn't succeed in preserving the victory of liberating Gaza. 500 people died in the Strip since the withdrawal, as opposed to 3-4 Israelis killed by rockets. The reality in Gaza today is one of neglect, sadness, and failure. When someone errs we are scared to criticize him to avoid being accused of being against the resistance," Hamad wrote.
"When efforts are made to open the Rafah border crossing to ease the humanitarian crisis, there is always someone who fires a rocket on the crossing. When we speak about a truce, there is always someone who fires another rocket."
Hamad appeals to leaders of Palestinian factions saying that resistance against Israel is worthless when "the land is full with anarchy, corruption, thuggery, and gang killings. Isn't building the homeland part of the resistance?"
He also criticized the phenomenon of kidnapping foreigners in Gaza. Two Fox News journalists kidnapped almost two weeks ago by Palestinian gunmen were released on Sunday.
Hamad said the phenomenon has become a "profitable business," charging that kidnappers of innocent foreigners apathetic to the harm their deeds cause to the Palestinian cause.
"Let's admit to our mistakes, let's do some logical soul searching and place the interest of our people before us and say honestly – We were right here and we erred there. Only then will we see that the faces of Gaza and the homeland changes," he concluded.