by Saud Abu Ramadan
GAZA, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic Hamas movement has suffered a severe financial crisis since the Egyptian army destroyed most of the smuggling tunnels at the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
Palestinian analysts said that the options of Hamas which has been ruling the coastal enclave since 2007 to overcome the crisis are slim, due to the Israeli blockade, closure of tunnels, lack of financial liquidity and cut of the Iranian aid.
Hamas used to get about 22 million U.S. dollars monthly from Iran, and the income that Hamas earned from the taxes of the goods smuggled through the tunnels reached 365 million dollars that account 40 percent of its budget before former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was ousted, sources in the ministry of finance of the deposed Hamas government told Xinhua.
After ouster of Morsi, Hamas lost support from the Muslim Brotherhood, a powerful ally in the region, and the new Egyptian government destroyed most of the smuggling tunnels at the border during crackdown on armed groups.
Meanwhile, Tehran cut its aid to Hamas after the Islamic movement refused to support the embattled Syrian government.
Lack of financial support even makes Hamas not able to pay salary for its employees that reaches 37 million dollars per month.
Mo'een Rajab, a retired professor at al-Azhar University in Gaza, told Xinhua that Hamas have limited choices to overcome the crisis. "I believe that Hamas movement has tried all options and this won't help except reaching the internal reconciliation and ending the division because this will enable it to legally share power with (Palestinian National Authority President) Mahmoud Abbas and end the blockade imposed on Gaza."
ISOLATION BY INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
Mohamed Miqdad, a professor of economics at the Islamic University of Gaza, told Xinhua that Hamas have to find a way to end isolation in the region before talking about plans to solve the financial crisis.
"To overcome the crisis, the Hamas government has to go through political and economic tracks and it shouldn't stop addressing letters to the Arab League, the United Nations and human rights organizations towards ending the siege," Miqdad said.
Israel has imposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip for more than six years, while the international community issued embargo on Hamas because it refused to recognize Israel and launched violent operations.
Adnan Abu Aamer, a Gaza-based political analyst, said that Hamas lost all its allies in the past two years. It already felt that it is isolated and "is trying to find other allies or at least fix its ties with Iran."
The Hamas government is in a real crisis due to stripped cash flow, lack of foreign aid from Iran and Syria, ouster of Morsi and the destruction of the tunnels underneath the borders with Egypt, Abu Aamer added.
However, it is not the worst situation in the history and Hamas officials are optimistic about overcoming the current crisis.
Zeyad Zaza, deputy prime minister of the Hamas government, said "we had passed through harder crisis before, and I'm sure that we will pass this one too. We have taken plans to overcome the crisis, but this certainly would take some time."