GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The ruling Hamas party has started using police cars to ferry Palestinians around the Gaza Strip because of severe fuel shortages. Orange stickers reading, "We are ready to drive you for free," were affixed to blue units of the Hamas-run police force.
Israel has restricted fuel supplies to Gaza in an attempt to pressure Palestinian militants to halt their rocket barrages at nearby Israeli communities. Although Hamas complains bitterly about fuel shortages, the militant group is widely believed to have hoarded supplies for its own use – especially now that it is offering its vehicles to ferry people for free.
Many residents, hit by lack of other transport, were just grateful for the service. Suzan Salman used one of the police cars to take her to a downtown hospital, where her daughter had just given birth. "It's good that we have somebody who cares about us," she said. "We are here to serve our people," said Mohammed Hamza, a 25-year-old Hamas policeman. Transport has come to a near halt in Gaza since Israel reduced supplies of gasoline and diesel fuel.
Yeah right. It would have absolutely nothing to do with strikes within the Gaza Strip or hoarding or misappropriation of fuel by Hamas officials…taken from a Jerusalem Post report.
The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry on Thursday accused Hamas of robbing fuel stockpiles in two hospitals in the Gaza Strip. A statement published by the ministry claimed that Hamas had been stealing fuel from the European Hospital in the Strip for use in the group's operations.But good luck with all that.
"The fuel was supplied to hospitals in order to satisfy their needs, in wake of the blockade imposed on Gaza following Hamas's takeover," continued the statement. For three days, Hamas has been preventing Gaza fuel companies from receiving fuel allocations sent from Ramallah. According to a Palestine Press news agency report, Hamas was stealing fuel and medical supplies sent from the PA Health Ministry in Ramallah to Gaza hospitals.
Reportedly, Hamas had been using the fuel for cars belonging to senior group officials and the medical equipment was being transferred to hospitals under Hamas control.