If Helping Palestinians is Crime Then I’m Proud to be Criminal
In the wake of the formation of the Palestinian government (PG) by the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas; US, EU and Israel have imposed a financial siege on the newly formed government trying to bring it to collapse. The PG has been trying to break the siege or reduce its severity but failed most of the times as sponsors of the siege practice pressure on the Arab and Islamic countries, which are primarily supposed to support the government’s mission.
Recently, the PG, in an attempt to counteract the unjust siege, was caught bringing money through the Rafah Crossing by the Information Spokesman of Hamas, Sami abu-Zuhri, an incident that aroused tension among certain Palestinians groups who seem to be indirectly involved in imposing the siege and who were quick to condemn Hamas for its action and called it a kind of illegal action and used it to accuse Hamas of corruption and defalcation.
Ikhwanweb met Mr. Abu-Zuhri, the man at the center of the controversy and asked him about all details related to the mission in question.
Abu-Zuhri: if Helping Palestinians Considered a Crime then I’m Proud of Such a Crime
1. Mr. Sami abu-Zuhri, would you please clarify the Rafah Crossing’s incident and the alleged smuggled money?
The money I was carrying was donations from our brothers in the Arab countries; but unfortunately, the Palestinian officers confiscated these moneys and in an offending manner. I have called the Ministry of Interior, agreed on submitting the money to the Ministry of Finance which happened the same day. Thus, at the end it reached the right authority it was intended to receive it. This action by police is highly denounced, since transferring such donations must be facilitated in order to stand strictly in the face of the aggressive siege imposed on the Palestinians.
2. We have heard in the media that the money was allocated for the prisoners in the Israeli jails and the poor among Palestinian people, Is this true?
Of course. Part of this money is specified for the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails. However, since it reached the trustworthy treasury of the PG, I am sure that eventually, the money will reach its intended targets i.e. the needy Palestinians.
3. This issue casted doubts that Hamas is used to the practice of money smuggling for its own interest and what was discovered is just a tip of the iceberg.
First of all, it is illegal to call what I have done by bringing money in to help the Palestinians as smuggling action. Smuggling is taking the money out of the country. On the other hand, to claim that the money was for Hamas interest is flat out wrong. The money was for the Palestinian government not Hamas, and it was to be distributed on the needy among the Palestinian people.
Furthermore, suppose that the money was for Hamas. What is wrong with that? Hamas is used to supporting Palestinians through its charities. So that, dealing with Hamas regarding this issue as a suspect is something that is totally unacceptable.
4. What is your response to President Mahmoud Abbas’s request to the Attorney General to question you concerning the money?
We felt bad as soon as this issue was taken in such way since the ones to be questioned are those who take the money and gold out of the country and destroying the Palestinian economy. Such people, according to the Attorney General, are former officials in the PA. However, those who bring money in for the people inside the country must be appreciated and supported. If helping the Palestinian people is considered as a crime, let me tell you: I am proud of this crime. Despite the fact that I have not received an official subeona from the Attorney General in this regard, but the idea itself is unacceptable and is considered an insult for all Palestinians.
5. What are the latest developments regarding the economic siege imposed on the Palestinians?
You have to know hat the purpose of this siege is to push the PG to bow to pressure and fail in the eyes of Palestinians. Whenever we find a new way for transferring money, the American Intelligence interferes and spoils it.
Until now, I can’t say that there is any successful solution, but we are doing our best to solve the problem. We are confident that this siege will be end one day by the continuous efforts. Let the world know that we will use all legal and illegal ways to transfer the legitimate money to help the Palestinians.
6. What are these “illegal” ways?
I cannot speak about this, but I would like to let the world knows that it is illegal to subject a whole nation to hunger and starvation, and we determined not to let this happen. We will work relentlessly to end the misery and suffering of the Palestinian people and that is what we were elected to do. Therefore, we will use every means to enter money into Palestine.
7. Do you believe that the siege imposed on the Palestinians because of the Hamas led Government undermined Hamas’ popularity among Palestinians?
Absolutely not. The siege increased the Palestinians’ support of their Government and this is real. If you look at the elections of the Syndicate of Nurses, which took place a few days ago, you will find out that the Change and Reform bloc (Hamas’ Bloc) won 69% of the votes, which is even more than what Hamas gained in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections. Astonishingly, all of the syndicate members who voted are indeed government’s employees and have not received their salaries for three months in a row. So certainly, the unjust siege imposed on the Hamas-led government has not harmed its popularity.
8. What about the Initiatives by the Palestinian Prisoners in the Israeli jails, which contain an implied, call for recognizing Israel? Will the government adopt such call since among its sponsors is one of Hamas leaders?
Hamas has rejected this Initiative, which was issued by only one group of the prisoners in one of the Israeli jails. We have received many messages from the Palestinian prisoners and their leaders in prisons show their rejection of this Initiative and express their support to the government and its steadfastness.
9. What about the chaotic and declining security situation in Palestine?
The security situation was worse before the new Government took power. There are abductions, killings and aggressions against different organization. At the same time, the security services refuse to carry out the instructions of the Interior Minister. Therefore, he insisted to build a new supporting power composed of the military wings of the Palestinian factions to be instructed by him directly.
Some of the leaders of the security services rejected his decision because it lessen their power and pushed some of their supporters to carry out illegal actions which is the core reason of the security chaos in the Palestinian territories. We will end the security chaos, but not at the expense of the national unity.