April 8, 2015 Switzerland has put together a plan to reconstruct the Gaza Strip which includes paying the salaries of Hamas operatives, according to Palestinian officials interviewed by Israel’s NRG website. The plan would also reestablish the status of the Hamas terrorist organization as the only authority in the Gaza Strip.
In recent months, according to the report, Hamas has been faced with the danger of collapsing in Gaza, and turned to Swiss officials for help. Its relations with Egypt are at their worst ever, and funds intended to rehabilitate the coastal enclave after Israel’s Operation Protective Edge last summer have run out. Thousands of Hamas officials have not received their salaries for months, leading to weakening of Hamas’ legitimacy in Gaza, and raising the specter of protests against Hamas’ rule.
The Palestinian sources told NRG that the Swiss jumped into the fray and promised to pay the salaries of thousands of Hamas officials.
The issue of salary payments for Gaza based government employees has been the source of tensions between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas for some time.
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The GMBDW reported in August 2010 that 220 Swiss NGO’s and unions had expressed support for the second Gaza flotilla in support of Hamas. An earlier post had reported that preparations were underway for a Swiss vessel to participate in the that flotilla. A report from a now defunct Union of Good website identified Anouar Gharbi as one of the founders of the Gaza Flotilla coalition. Mr Gharbi is known to have been an officer of the Association de Secours Palestinien in Switzerland, the Swiss member of the Union of Good which was a coalition of charities headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi helping to raise funds for Hamas. The Union of Good was banned by Israel in 2002 and was designated a terrorist entity by the United States. In March 2011, we reported that Mr. Gharbi was involved in efforts to persuade Switzerland to arrest visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres.