Hamas has closed a gas canister factory in Gaza.
The crime? Selling canisters of the same color as Israeli-produced canisters.
Factory owner Yousif Sharaf told Ma’an that the authorities sealed off his factory, which produces domestic gas canisters, after inspectors found three canisters painted silver.
“Silver canisters are banned in Gaza because they are produced in Israel. However, one wholesaler managed to get an exemption from the ministry and he imported some 30,000 silver canisters from Israel,” Sharaf said.
As a result of the decision, Sharaf suffered major losses as the market became flooded with Israeli-made gas canisters. The three silver canister found in his factory were samples and not suitable for use.
Sharaf, who has been operating the factory since 1983, condemned the closure of his facility, saying it was unacceptable to make 45 workers unemployed.
Gaza economy ministry officials said that they implement their decisions according to set standards and regulations.
“If a national product matches Palestinian standards, we do not take any procedures against the producers. However, if any breaches to the acceptable standards are reported, we take the needed procedures so as to protect national products,” Abdul-Fattah Mousa, an official in the ministry of economy, said.
“He was informed he must stick to Palestinian standards, but he breached them by painting canisters in unaccepted color,” he added.
I assume the reason Gaza became “became flooded with Israeli-made gas canisters” is because we recently approved the transfer of trucks loaded with gas canisters for cooking and home heating to the Gaza Strip, as part of concessions and gestures to the palestinians. This follows great demand from palestinians, who complained of a lack of gas.
So let me break it down for you. The Gazans complain of a shortage of gas. Israel, wanting to ease their plight, agrees to allow canisters with gas in to Gaza. Yet Hamas decides to ban use of such canisters, with some exceptions, resulting in not only less gas for its own people, but also increased employment. And why? Because they are produced in Israel.
While this is going on, Israel is accused of collective punishment for restricting the flow of goods – including gas – into Gaza.
This would actually be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
Hamas claims to care for its people, but methinks they are full of hot air.