In a move that highlights the contrast between the Ramallah government of Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and Gaza, the ruling Hamas terror organization decided Sunday it would allow the entry of Israeli products into the enclave.
In Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, where the government is positioned as a “moderate” Arab force, merchants are punished by Abbas if they are found to be carrying Israeli items for sale.
This is also the first time in five years, however, that Hamas has allowed Israeli goods to enter Gaza. The reason is simple survival, economically and politically.
Imad al-Bad, assistant deputy of the Hamas ministry of economy, told the Ma’an news agency that soft drinks, clothes, coffee and other items would be allowed in. “The last war led to the destruction of thousands of factories which affected the production power [in Gaza], and to fill that gap we decided to allow Zionist products in,” he said.
“The war damaged the production ability of factories and the nature and quality of the product because some raw materials are not allowed in” due to the blockade,” he continued. “We decided to allow [the] products to enter so that the market is not hindered and products are available,” al-Baz added.
Israel has resumed its cautious stance on which items can cross the border into Gaza after having discovered during last summer’s war hundreds of kilometers of terror tunnels honeycombing the enclave and leading under the border into Israeli territory.
Despite its concerns, Israel has nevertheless allowed concrete and other construction materials into the region, albeit under “supervision,” for reconstruction purposes. Those materials have already been commandeered, sold or voluntarily offered to Hamas terrorists for the purpose of rebuilding its terror tunnels, an inevitable result Israeli officials had predicted.
The Jewish State was heavily pressured by international leaders into allowing the construction materials into Gaza that were used to build the underground tunnel city network also the first time around. At that time too, it was claimed that Gaza residents “desperately” needed the materials for construction and repair of their homes, schools, hospitals and other essential infrastructure.
Instead, the materials were used to build millions of dollars’ worth of tunnels for carrying out terror attacks against Israelis and kidnapping other captives to hold as hostages in Gaza. The tunnels became part of the Hamas arsenal employed most recently during Operation Protective Edge, but also as far back as 2006, in its unending war against Israel.