Israel reopened the Kerem Shalom border crossing following an IDF statement that the threat posed by a Hamas tunnel has been foiled.
By Margot Dudkevitch, World Israel News
Israel reopened the Kerem Shalom crossing Tuesday, the vital supply route between Israel and the Gaza Strip, which was closed for two days after the IDF destroyed a massive Hamas terror tunnel running underneath the crossing.
A statement released by the IDF on Monday night said the “threat posed” by the tunnel has been foiled, warning that “the Hamas terror organization is responsible for all that takes place in Gaza, and is responsible for the welfare of its residents,” and that any further attempts by Hamas to dig attack tunnels will be thwarted by Israel.
Dr. Dina Lisnyansky, an expert on the Middle East and radical Islamic groups at the Ariel College in Samaria, told World Israel News (WIN) that Israel is bound by international agreements to allow supplies into Gaza, fully aware that Hamas takes advantage of the situation.
“Ever since Hamas commandeered the Gaza Strip a decade ago and took control, it demands total compliance from the local population, either by threats or by forcing them to pay out protection. In almost every family in Gaza there is a Hamas supporter. Those who don’t support Hamas are too afraid to speak out,” she said. This is the reason there is no uprising against the Hamas government there.”
Hamas takes funds from UN aid organization
Hamas also takes advantage of the UN World Relief Organization that operates in Gaza, using donations to the world body for its own benefit. This is beside the funds Hamas receives from Qatar and Muslim Brotherhood organizations around the world, Lisnyansky said.
According to the Defense Ministry, last year more than 14,300 tons of textiles, 12,300 tons of agricultural equipment, 7,00o tons of medical equipment, 568,760 tons of food and 3,383,400 tons of construction materials and other supplies were transferred to the Gaza Strip via Kerem Shalom.
Statistics provided by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to WIN show that in 2017, 147, 286 trucks passed through the crossing, carrying 4.73 million tons of goods.
Reopening viewed as necessary
The reopening of the crossing is viewed as essential, with senior Israeli defense officials warning the Gaza economy and infrastructure are on the verge of collapse.
Egypt refuses to assist the Palestinian population in Gaza with humanitarian aid and staples because the government, under President Abdel Fatah al Sisi, views Hamas as a proxy of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in the country.
According to the IDF, “the cost of one terror tunnel equals 19 clinics, six schools and 86 housing units. Israel provides humanitarian aid and Hamas undermines it.”
Hamas’s existence and legitimacy is based on its resistance against Israel, Dr. Lisnyansky said, noting last year while the terrorist organization amended its Charter, it agreed to erase the word “jihad” (Holy War) a number of times but it still appears.”