Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said more than $500 million is needed for reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following the Hamas-initiated 11-day war with Israel in May 2021.
“The Gaza Strip needs more than $500 million, and we wish we could have contributed more [for the reconstruction process]. I hope that the reconstruction process we promised will end as soon as possible for the sake of our brothers in the Gaza Strip,” the Egyptian president said on Wednesday at a panel of the World Youth Forum.
Given Egypt’s own financial troubles, Sisi urged donor countries to step forward and make the necessary financial contributions to UNRWA – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – uniquely created to assist refugees from the Arab-Israeli 1948 war and several generations of their descendants in the Gaza Strip and other Middle Eastern locations.
“Our role [in the reconstruction effort] will continue and we urge the donors to never abandon UNRWA,” declared el-Sisi.
Many Gazans are frustrated with the slow pace of reconstruction in the Gaza Strip. Out of 1,650 buildings damaged in Gaza during the last conflict, only 50 have reportedly been repaired.
The 60-year-old Gazan Zeyad Abu Odah is one of the few lucky individuals whose homes are being repaired.
“When things started to move, we began to feel better. In six to seven months we will return to our house with our children and families,” said Odah.
Without elaborating, Gaza’s Deputy Housing Minister Naji Sarhan blamed the slow reconstruction process on the Jewish state.
“It is clear the Israeli occupation is exerting political pressure and making obstacles,” Sarhan told Reuters.
However, Gaza is not “occupied” by Israel, which pulled out completely from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
Sarhan also blamed the Arab world and the international community for lukewarm support of the Gaza reconstruction.
“Reconstruction process is slow and doesn’t meet our ambitions,” stated Hamas’s deputy housing minister.
While Hamas conveniently blames the outside world for the Gaza crisis, it ranked as the world’s third richest terrorist organization in 2021, according to a Forbes report. Much of Hamas’ wealth has been accumulated through massive taxation of Gaza’s impoverished population and donations from Qatar and other donors. In 2014, Middle East expert Moshe Elad estimated that senior Hamas leader Khaled Mashal was a billionaire.
“Global estimates say Mashal is worth $2.6 billion – but Arab commentators, with other sources, say he is worth between $2 to 5 billion, invested in Egyptian banks and Gulf countries, some in real estate projects,” Elad said.
However, Hamas has not used its massive wealth to improve the daily lives of regular Gazans. Instead, the leadership of Hamas has prioritized financing luxury lives for their own families as well as investing massively in expanding Hamas’ terrorist capabilities against Israel, with considerable assistance from the Iranian regime.
The Iranian state media agency Tasnim News recently revealed the “untold story” of how Iran, under the leadership of the late Quds force leader Qassem Soleimani for more than two decades, provided military and financial assistance to Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and other terrorist organizations operating against Israel. The Shiite Iranian regime was not concerned that Gaza-based terrorist organizations like Hamas are Sunnis.
The Iranian media reported that Soleimani’s strategy was to “work closely with all these groups, regardless of their religious or political taste” and strengthen the “resistance against the Zionist regime in Palestine,” showing the Iranian leadership readiness to finance any terrorist organization that fights Israel.
Khalid Jabril, son of the late PFLP terrorist leader Ahmed Jabril, praised Iran’s and Soleimani’s support of anti-Israel terrorist organizations.
“[Soleimani] made a great effort to support the Palestinian resistance groups. We were in the rocket arsenals of the Palestinian resistance,” said Jabril.
While Hamas leaders have been publicly advocating a state of uncompromising perpetual war with Israel, an increasing number of Hamas leaders are quietly leaving the Gaza Strip in favor of a lavish lifestyle at luxury hotels abroad. At least eight top leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have reportedly left Gaza during the past year alone. They include Hamas’ political leader Ismail Haniyeh who left Gaza and lives in Qatar.
Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas’ deputy leader in Gaza, reportedly also left Gaza with his family for a better life in Doha. Fati Hamas, a hawkish senior Hamas leader who has orchestrated numerous terrorist attacks against Israel and incited murder of Jews, reportedly left Gaza and moved to Istanbul.
Meanwhile regular Gazans have no possibility to leave the coastal strip, but are increasingly suffering under the oppressive Islamist Hamas-regime’s rule in Gaza.