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Hamas budget shows another tough year ahead for Gaza

The Hamas government budget for 2014 is full of ambitious targets that most likely will not be met because of the current crisis and blockade.
Tunnel workers sit outside a smuggling tunnel on the border between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip February 17, 2014. Voices of construction workers and the noise from their tools used to ring out in Gaza's streets. Now hulks of unfinished buildings stand in eerie silence, and the idle builders are left to worry how to make ends meet. An Egyptian-Israeli blockade on Gaza, run by the Hamas Islamist movement, has left industry and construction gasping for resources, pushing unemployment to dizzying heights
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The Hamas government’s budget for 2014 of nearly $900 million, ratified by the Legislative Council on Dec. 31, will struggle to meet its targets. While preparing and ratifying the budget is one matter, implementing it and reaching the set revenues is another task altogether.

Meeting the budget is nearly an impossible mission in light of the circumstances that can easily be described as harsh, most notably because of the significant decline in tax revenues from incoming goods from Egypt because of the closure of the tunnels and the severe recession experienced by Gaza’s economy. This is in addition to the tightening of the Israeli siege after Israel uncovered the Ein Hashlosha tunnel on its border last October, and the worsening UNRWA financial crisis. The Hamas government, the Hamas movement and the Gaza Strip are experiencing difficult circumstances. How will Hamas be able to confront these conditions, given that they are the worst in decades?

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