Once again, Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group is making sure its population will be unable to rebuild their homes and infrastructure.
After all, rebuilding its military infrastructure is much more important, right? Even when it means stealing from your own people.
Only this time, Hamas has been caught red-handed with its hand in the honey pot.
Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) monitors the flow of building supplies – among other goods – into Gaza.
In particular, COGAT tracks the flow of cement deliveries into Gaza to make sure Hamas is not using it to build terror tunnels to attack Israel.
Last Friday, the COGAT Arabic Facebook page carried a notice that cement deliveries into the region were being suspended.
Some of the deliveries had been “diverted” by Hamas Economic Office deputy director-general Imad Elbaz.
When deliveries don’t reach their proper destination, one has to ask where they’re going instead. But in any case, diversion of supplies intended for reconstruction of residential units and infrastructure is unacceptable.
“This is a blatant violation of agreements on the rehabilitation mechanism,” the Facebook statement said, adding that COGAT head Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai suspended the deliveries until an investigation into the matter is completed.
The statement said COGAT regretted that Hamas “continues to pursue its own agenda at the expense of the residents of Gaza.”
Unlike other individuals who have served in the position in past years, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nicolay Mladenov immediately responded with a statement noting the theft and its impact.
“Those who seek to gain through the deviation of materials are stealing from their own people and adding to the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza,” Mladenov said. “The reconstruction of Gaza remains critical to ensuring its stability and I urge a rapid resolution of this matter.”
He added that according to Israeli records, “a substantial amount [of cement bound for the private sector] had been diverted from its intended legitimate beneficiaries.
“The people of Gaza depend on the entry of construction material to repair and reconstruct their damaged and destroyed houses following the 2014 conflict and to enable much needed infrastructure and development projects,” Mladenov added.
He noted the United Nations was working with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resolve the issue.
This past January, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon responded to statements by the Hamas leadership announcing its intention to continue building tunnels and firing rockets at Israel.
Ban warned that such remarks and actions do a “serious disservice” to Gaza’s long-suffering people and “put at risk reconstruction, humanitarian and development efforts by the international community and Palestinian and Israeli authorities.”
Clearly Hamas has not taken Ban’s advice to heart, however.
A long terrorist tunnel was discovered last month beneath the Gaza border leading from the southern town of Rafah, directly into an apartment building in Egypt.
In addition to its conflict with Israel, Hamas has also been providing technical, medical and material support to Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.
The group is comprised of former members of Ansar Beyt al-Maqdis. They are aligned with Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood which is locked in an all-out war against the Cairo government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, 20,064 tons of goods in 611 trucks entered Gaza from Israel via the Kerem Shalom land crossing. There were 1,608 crossings by foreign nationals, local merchants and others in and out of the region via the Erez Crossing with Israel, in addition to seven ambulances who also entered and left Gaza.
In many ways this area operates more like a standard foreign border crossing than it does the “blockade” that far-left agitators and anti-Israel detractors keep bleating about.
Hana Levi Julian