GAZA, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- It was hard to see an end to the large agricultural fields in southern Gaza Strip that are planted with various kinds of trees like palms, olives, apples and citrus. These fields were under Jewish settlements' control before Israel had unilaterally evacuated them in September, 2005.
The area was so calm, where most of the trees are carrying ripped fruits. The fields were divided into sectors, one of which is cultivated with palm trees, while others are planted with oranges, grapefruits, olives and apples in addition to green peppers, onions, melons, and watermelons.
Most of these farms and fields in west, south and north of the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis do not belong to investors of the local Gaza private sector, but to the government of Islamic Hamas movement, which has been ruling the coastal enclave since June 2007.
Officials in the Hamas-run ministry of agriculture said that the government does not only invest in plant wealth, but also in livestock such as chicken and eggs in order to achieve self- sufficiency within the coming two years and completely stop the economic dependence on Israel.
Ibrahim al-Qedra, director general of the Agriculture Ministry, told Xinhua that the Gaza Strip is not importing from Israel at all many different kinds of agricultural and livestock products such as onions, garlic, melons, watermelons, chicken and eggs.
"In the past, we were buying the melons, watermelons, onions, chicken and eggs from Israel, but this year the government achieved 100 percent self-sufficiency. We hope that within the coming two years, the Gaza Strip will completely depend on itself and end dependence on Israel's economy," said al-Qedra.
Israel has been imposing a tight blockade on the 1.6 million population of the Gaza Strip right after Hamas had violently seized control of the enclave and routed the security forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who rules the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in the West Bank.
Over the past five years after the blockade was imposed on the Gaza Strip, Hamas-run ministry of agriculture brought from Egypt hundreds of thousands of olive and palm trees as well as seeds and chemical and agricultural equipment through smuggling tunnels underneath the borders with Egypt.
"The ministry of agriculture planted about 4,500 dunums (4.5 million square meters) of watermelons this year on the liberated lands that were used by Jewish settlements in southern Gaza Strip and we produced 30,000 tons (30 million kg) of melons," said al- Qedra.
He added that Hamas government has achieved self-sufficiency in other agricultural products such as onions, melons, carrots, adding that "the government also planted trees of rare kinds of fruits such as avocado, mango, guava, citrus and apples.
Abbas and other PNA officials in the West Bank accused Hamas of trying to keep the internal division by strengthening its rule in Gaza. They said that Hamas policy and behavior on the ground indicate that Hamas is gradually trying to achieve full independence and declare its own state in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas ministry of foreign affairs in Gaza trained diplomats, where Hamas government wants Egypt to open Rafah crossing on the borders with Egypt round the clock and to have full control on it, in addition of Hamas' calls on Egypt to establish a free trade area instead of the smuggling tunnels.
Abdel Majid Swailem, a political science professor at al-Quds University in the West Bank, told Xinhua that all what Hamas does on the ground in Gaza is considered a unilateral action that aims at establishing an independent political regime or entity isolated from the West Bank.
"Hamas wants to establish a political regime or entity that is linked to Egypt and to the Arab and Islamic countries and not as Hamas leaders always declare that Hamas wants to protect the national Palestinian program. Simply all what Hamas does is pouring into isolating Gaza from the West Bank," said Swailem.
After Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Abbas deposed the Hamas-led government and its premier Ismail Haneya, who refused Abbas' decree and insisted on ruling the coastal enclave. Efforts to end the division and make a real comprehensive reconciliation had so far failed.
With the ongoing tight Israeli blockade and the world's restrictions imposed on Hamas to dry up all channels of finance, Hamas rule managed to survive and rule Gaza through other financing channels such as smuggling tunnels and achieving agricultural self-sufficiency.
"Whether Hamas knows or doesn't know, I believe that Hamas policy in the Gaza Strip will soon lead to a separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. Hamas is expected to reach a deal with the countries, which witnessed Arab Spring revolutions to establish an independent entity in Gaza," said Swailem.