GAZANS GET RICH QUICK
Palestinians taking advantage of Palestinians:
Jawad Tawfiq, a 52-year-old Gazan actor and director, was dubious at first, but his nephew insisted. If they could scrape together enough money, the nephew said, large profits could be made from investing in the tunnels that snake beneath the Egyptian border.And not a Jew in sight.
"They were liars," Tawfiq said bitterly last week. "They took my money to put in their own pockets. And we are being offered a fraction of what we gave them."
At first the tunnels emerged as smuggling routes; then they became the vital lifeline for a Gaza under economic siege by Israel. But many people who invested in the tunnels now see them quite differently - as a source of ruination.
The tunnel schemes were advertised as opportunities for doubling and trebling money by unscrupulous figures linked to powerful businessmen in Gaza and, allegedly, to senior officials in Hamas, but have instead led to huge losses for ordinary residents of the Strip.
According to Hamas's economics minister, Ziad al-Zaza, whose office is investigating the issue, some $100m has been taken fraudulently from would-be entrepreneurs. Others suggest the figure could be closer to $500m.
How is it that supposedly poverty stricken Gazans have hundreds of millions of disposable dollars to invest in get-rich-quick schemes?