Khaled Meshal, the “political” leader of Hamas, just bragged at an Al Jazeera forum in Doha that since the 2014 war, his organization has doubled the number of weapons it possesses.
Speaking on the topic of “Palestinian resistance and the transformations of the Arab Spring,” Meshal said, “Hamas has many times the weapons than it had two years ago, due to the strong will of the Palestinians.” He proudly claimed that this is the case, despite Israel’s naval blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Meshal attended the forum with Hamas’ Gaza chief, Ismail Haniyeh.
Whether he is telling the truth or not, it will be interesting to see if there is any reaction to this speech by Gazans, Israelis, human rights NGOs, Arab leaders and the international community.
Meshal is effectively telling Gazans that Hamas prioritizes weapons replenishment over getting them electricity, building materials and other goods that they need. Does the average Gazan share those priorities? Why isn’t Hamas smuggling in things that Gazans actually need?
Meshal is telling NGOs that Hamas doesn’t care about Gaza unemployment or dependency on aid by outsiders. In fact, the external aid is helping Hamas focus its priorities on acquiring arms. How should Doctors Without Borders or Oxfam react when they are being told that their helping Gazans allows Hamas to abdicate its responsibility to its people?
Furthermore, Meshal is telling Israelis (and Egypt) that despite the limits on goods going to Gaza, Hamas is managing to re-arm. Will this make Israel and Egypt become more or less likely to loosen up their restrictions on letting materials into Gaza?
This supposedly moderate and pragmatic Hamas leader is telling the Arab leaders that Hamas’ main priority is to kill Israeli Jews, not to help its own people. Yet Arab nations have pledged billions to help Gaza. Will this make them more or less likely to pay their pledges?
Finally, Meshal has re-affirmed Hamas’ terror goals. Will this make world leaders think twice about helping an enclave where their aid is indirectly enabling terror?
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal