What does $900 million buy us in Gaza?

Barack Obama pledged almost a billion dollars in aid to rebuild Gaza after the Israelis finally responded to Hamas’ rocket attacks during the winter.  Has that pledge helped moderate Hamas, the group holding Gaza in its grip?  The BBC reports that Hamas, instead of moderating through the indirect engagement offered by Obama, has marshaled its forces to conduct violent purges of dissent:

Hamas must stop killing and torturing its political rivals in Gaza, Human Rights Watch has said.

At least 32 Palestinians have died and several more have been maimed in such cases during and since Israel’s January military assault, the group said. …

During the 22-day Israeli operation, “Hamas moved violently against its political opponents and those deemed collaborators with Israeli forces”, said Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division.

Eighteen men were were summarily executed, most suspected of collaborating with Israel, during the fighting, HRW said.

In the three months since January, another 14 people were killed, including at least four in detention, the report released on Monday said.

Instead of killing many of them, Hamas opts to cripple their enemies by shooting them in the legs.  If they survive the shootings, the victims have difficulty healing properly and can no longer walk without pain.  In two months, Hamas had shot 49 men in the legs and broken arms or legs on an additional 73.

Obama says that the money flowing into Gaza from the US will not go to Hamas, which remains on the State Department terrorist list.  The money may not directly go to Hamas, but Hamas controls the flow of goods and services throughout Gaza.  Any resources flowing into Gaza will eventually wind up in the hands of Hamas, probably almost immediately by comandeering the aid as it enters Gaza, or through a series of kickbacks from the NGOs that get it.

Pretending otherwise is silliness; it’s the same pretense that people used about the UN Oil-for-Food Program in assuring people that Saddam Hussein didn’t get any of the money.  Hamas controls Gaza almost as completely as Saddam did Iraq.  It would not surprise me in the least if Hamas learned a lesson on how to corrupt an aid delivery system and have already been paying off diplomats and NGO leaders in order to grease the wheels to get their hands on the money.

One way to ensure that system works is to kneecap rivals, just as it was done with the Mafia here in the US and other organized crime systems around the world.  Hamas has that part down cold.