Olympic Games Coming to Gaza?

July 10, 2019

by: Elior Levy

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Destruction in Gaza after the 2014 war with Israel

Wednesday, 10 July 2019 | While the level of poverty and economic difficulty in Gaza is on the rise, Hamas officials are planning a grandiose project to build an Olympic village on the ruins of an Israeli settlement abandoned in 2005 when Israel withdrew from the Strip.

The planned project on 720 acres [2,900 dunams] where the settlement of Netzarim used to be, will include a state-of-the-art soccer stadium with 25,000 seats, an Olympic-size swimming pool and an indoor stadium for competitions and training.

The area is now used for Hamas military training.

Construction will take place gradually with the soccer stadium to be built first and completed within five years, if all goes according to plan.

Hamas believes they will be able to raise the funds needed for their ambitious project, internationally because their plan is a for the benefit of Gaza’s civilian population, though not a cent has been raised so far.

The mastermind behind the planned village is Abdel Salam, son of Hamas leader Ismail Abdel Salam Ahmed Haniyeh, who is an avid sports fan and was the chairman of the local soccer association [and] said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a plan,” alluding to the famous quote of Mao Tse Tung.

The Islamic University’s Engineering faculty is tasked with the actual planning and construction of Haniyeh’s project that will be overseen by Gaza’s High Commission for Sports.

The bombastic undertaking is being planned while the Gaza Strip is still struggling with the devastation of the 2014 Gaza war with Israel that caused the destruction of a reported 25% of its buildings and as Hamas leadership continues its belligerent acts against Israel that include a steady stream of incendiary balloons toward Israeli fields and property as well as occasional launching of rockets aimed at communities in southern Israel.

Frustrated Gazans were said to receive the news of the planned stadium and surrounding facilities with disdain, one saying, “Instead of fantasizing about Olympic games, Hamas should first see to it that we have jobs, food, electricity and proper sewage so we can live normal lives.”

Posted on July 10, 2019

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on July 7, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: BBC News/YouTube/screenshot