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  • August 30, 2012

    How Many Millionaires Live in the “Impoverished” Gaza Strip?

    by Khaled Abu Toameh, GATESTONE INSTITUTE

    If the Egyptian army succeeds in demolishing the underground smuggling tunnels that keep Hamas running, it could mark the end of the Islamists’ rule over the Gaza Strip. But if Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood tie the hands of the Egyptian army’s generals and keep them from completing the mission, Hamas will become even stronger and wealthier.

    The world often thinks of the Gaza Strip, home to 1.4 million Palestinians, as one of the poorest places on earth, where people live in misery and squalor.


    But according to an investigative report published in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, there are at least 600 millionaires living in the Gaza Strip. The newspaper report also refutes the claim that the Gaza Strip has been facing a humanitarian crisis because of an Israeli blockade.

    Mohammed Dahlan, the former Palestinian Authority security commander of the Gaza Strip, further said last week that Hamas was the only party that was laying siege to the Gaza Strip; that it is Hamas, and not Israel or Egypt, that is strangling and punishing the people there.

    The Palestinian millionaires, according to the report, have made their wealth thanks to the hundreds of underground tunnels along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

    Informed Palestinian sources revealed that every day, in addition to weapons, thousands of tons of fuel, medicine, various types of merchandise, vehicles, electrical appliances, drugs, medicine and cigarettes are smuggled into the Gaza Strip through more than 400 tunnels. A former Sudanese government official who visited the Gaza Strip lately was quoted as saying that he found basic goods that were not available in Sudan. Almost all the tunnels are controlled by the Hamas government, which has established a special commission to oversee the smuggling business, which makes the Hamas government the biggest benefactor of the smuggling industry.

    Palestinians estimate that 25% of the Hamas government’s budget comes from taxes imposed on the owners of the underground tunnels.

    For example, Hamas has imposed a 25% tax and a $2000 fee on every car that is smuggled into the Gaza Strip. Hamas also charges $15 dollars for each ton of cement, eight cents for a pack of cigarettes and 50 cents for each liter of fuel smuggled through the tunnels.

    For Hamas, the Palestinian sources said, the tunnels are a matter of life or death.

    Now, however, Hamas is facing a huge crisis as the Egyptian authorities plan to regain control over Sinai in the aftermath of the recent killing of 16 Egyptian border guards by unidentified terrorists.

    The Egyptian army appears to be determined to destroy the underground tunnels out of fear that they are being used to smuggle not only goods and fuel, but also Islamist terrorists who pose a threat to Egypt’s national security.

    At this stage, however, it is not clear whether Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President, Mohamed Morsi, would allow his army to cut off one of Hamas’s main sources of income. Morsi’s policy thus far has been to embrace and strengthen Hamas at the expense of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

    If the Egyptian army succeeds in its anti-terror security crackdown in Sinai, including the demolition of all the underground tunnels that keep Hamas running, it could mark the beginning of the end of the Islamist movement’s rule over the Gaza Strip. But if Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood tie the hands of their generals and prevent them from completing the mission, Hamas will become even stronger and wealthier.

  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 12:19 pm | 15 Comments »

    15 Comments to How Many Millionaires Live in the “Impoverished” Gaza Strip?

    1. CuriousAmerican says:

      About 20% of the Strip is doing well, but 80% is very poor.

      Wealth cannot be sustained without production. What can they sell?

    2. CuriousAmerican says:

      You have 600 millionaires, but they extorted their money by inflated prices from the 1,399,400 who are not millionaires.

      They are not typical. You can find millionaires in Haiti.

    3. Yidvocate says:

      @ CuriousAmerican:

      Must be the fault of the Zionist Entity!

    4. yamit82 says:

      @ CuriousAmerican:

      About 20% of the Strip is doing well, but 80% is very poor.

      A small microcosm of America today:

      In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.7%.

      In terms of types of financial wealth, the top one percent of households have 38.3% of all privately held stock, 60.6% of financial securities, and 62.4% of business equity. The top 10% have 80% to 90% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and over 75% of non-home real estate.

      Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, some can say with justification that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.

    5. yamit82 says:

      @ CuriousAmerican:

      Wealth cannot be sustained without production.

      Partly some of your taxes pay them, some oil profits of Producing nations and from Jew hating schmucks in Europe and around the world. They don’t need to produce under the circumstances, as long as you Jew hating Christians are willing to use them as pets against us by paying them to do it (your dirty work).

      What can they sell?

      Their wives and daughters. Having lived with and employed many of them, they are all for sale and not very expensive either.

    6. CuriousAmerican says:

      @ yamit82:

      Their wives and daughters. Having lived with and employed many of them, they are all for sale and not very expensive either.

      And who would they be selling them to other than themselves during this blockade of Gaza?

      How are they generating income? Are there lines of tourists on the Egyptian site waiting to enter the tunnels in hope of quickie on the other side?

      This is basic economics. Their balance of trade is off.

      Nonw of this makes sense. They, as a whole, cannot be prospering.

      What are they exporting so that they can earn enough to import?

    7. yamit82 says:

      @ CuriousAmerican:

      And who would they be selling them to other than themselves during this blockade of Gaza? Are there lines of tourists on the Egyptian site waiting to enter the tunnels in hope of quickie on the other side?

      You have no imagination. Until recently there was no blockade and the Egyptian border was open and it’s still porous. If you can get into Gaza you can certainly get out of Gaza including wives and daughters. There are still many foreigners in Gaza and yes to each other, maybe not openly but yes, to each other.

      This is basic economics. Their balance of trade is off.

      Balance? It’s never been better and there was never a balance of trade not in Gaza, not in the West Bank, not in the whole of the ME and in case you haven’t noticed not in Europe and not in the greatest debtor nation in the history of mankind,… the USA.

      Nonw of this makes sense. They, as a whole, cannot be prospering.

      What are they exporting so that they can earn enough to import?

      They as whole is relative. No country as a whole reap the benefits of economic prosperity and Gaza is no different. They need not export for general prosperity because of what they import: Money, Money and more Money even some of yours and even some of mine. We are suckers.

    8. AJ - Raalte says:

      They export some strawberries to Europe, some tomatoes to Judea and Samaria, but mostly they export terror, an extremely lucrative business.

    9. Laura says:

      @ yamit82:

      A small microcosm of America today:

      No Yamit, 80% of Americans are not in poverty.

      What you posted is marxist propaganda.

    10. Laura says:

      And the economic problems we do have are the result of statist policies.

    11. Ben Ze'ev says:

      @ CuriousAmerican:
      Well….let that be the responsibility of their governement, as it is of governements all over the world……. Israel sends tens of thousands of all kinds of foodstuffs, clothing, machinery for peaceful uses, fuel, building materials etc.Every single damned week, and as well supplies the electricity, water, medicines and very often hospital facilities as well much of it free. They’re building shopping malls all over ther place there upscale stores and luxury hotels. The Jews are crazy for pampering them because of the Jewish ethic. I’d cut them off with not a thing. I’d let them starve and wallow in their filth. This might cure them of their brain disease.

    12. Ben Ze'ev says:

      @ CuriousAmerican:
      So they should give a little back. It all came from the Gazans anyway. It’s interesting to note that this poverty-stricken area has almost a similiar number of millionaires per million, as Israel had in 2008………..Think about it….

    13. yamit82 says:

      @ Laura:

      No Yamit, 80% of Americans are not in poverty.

      Where did I say that?

      What you posted is marxist propaganda.

      What I posted was a study done by Prof G. William Domhoff, University of California, Satanta Cruz, Power in America: Wealth, Income, and Power

      who got most of his data from the US Dept of Labor and other official US Government agencies.

    14. Enrique says:

      Is the proportion different in any other Arab Country or Society ???@ CuriousAmerican:

    15. Enrique says:

      CuriousAmerican Said:

      @ yamit82:

      Their wives and daughters. Having lived with and employed many of them, they are all for sale and not very expensive either.

      And who would they be selling them to other than themselves during this blockade of Gaza?

      How are they generating income? Are there lines of tourists on the Egyptian site waiting to enter the tunnels in hope of quickie on the other side?

      This is basic economics. Their balance of trade is off.

      Nonw of this makes sense. They, as a whole, cannot be prospering.

      What are they exporting so that they can earn enough to import?

      What Blockade ? the lies continue !! the only blockade is on materials that could be used for creating weapons ! All the rest is completely allowed. How can you keep disseminating lies ? can you expect to build a stable country based on lies and cheating ?? Dont you have any mercy on your own Palestinian children that are destined to live a life of misery ?

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