Following are excerpts from an interview with PA Minister for Religious Endowment Mahmoud Habbash, which aired on Palestinian Authority TV on March 23, 2012.
Mahmoud Habbash : There is a fuel crisis because, to put it simply, Hamas hoards the fuel for its own vehicles, and for the convoys and modern cars driven by its so-called “warriors” in plain view of the people.
There is an electricity crisis because, to put it very simply, Hamas charges the people for electricity, but does not pay the suppliers. It pockets the money and distributes it to its “army” of employees, with whom it has swamped the electricity company. These are unnecessary and useless employees.
There are leaders in Hamas who do not pay for their electricity. They light their homes and install floodlights at the expense of the people. Hamas institutions and offices use electricity at the expense of the people. That is the real reason for the suffering.
The electricity crisis in Gaza stems from the audacity of Hamas, which “steals” the money they charge the people for electricity.
Hamas stole 800 million dollars from the poor, through front companies for investments. They founded a bank for fraud and deception in Gaza.
Hamas is trying to sever the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian body, and to declare [themselves] a state.
All the suffering endured in the Gaza Strip for some five years, since the criminal coup carried out by criminals in the Gaza Strip… I believe that we, the Palestinian Authority and the national leadership, made a mistake and acted with neglect – not towards the Gaza Strip, but in failing to pursue the criminals who carried out the coup. We should have pursed them through Arab and international legal channels, until we brought them to justice, so that they could be punished in a just and deterrent way for their crimes.