Israel has stopped the import of cement into Gaza after it became apparent that Hamas is using stolen building materials meant for Gaza’s residents for its terror infrastructure.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
Israel has halted the private importation of cement and other building materials into the Gaza Strip until further notice after it discovered that the materials were diverted to Hamas and used by the terrorist organization to build its terror infrastructure and terror tunnels, at the expense of the residents of Gaza.
The Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said on Monday that an undisclosed amount of cement, intended for the rebuilding effort in Gaza had been taken by Imad Elbaz, the Deputy General of Hamas’ Economics Office in Gaza.
“This offense is a direct violation of the accords for the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism…This is a clear example of how Hamas continues to abuse and harm Gaza’s civil population to advance their own personal agenda.,” COGAT stated.
Israel has been enabling some 900 trucks of building materials to enter Gaza on a daily basis, but many of the materials are stolen by Hamas.
The United Nations also condemned the “deviation of materials” in a statement released on Monday, but refrained from naming Hamas as responsible.
Nickolay Mladenov, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said Monday that the United Nations has been informed by Israel of its decision to suspend the import of cement into Gaza.
He said that the UN is working closely with its Palestinian and Israeli Government counterparts to assist in resolving the situation in order to prevent incidents that could lead to any future suspension of imports.
Mladenov said that “those who seek to gain through the deviation of materials are stealing from their own people and adding to the suffering of the people of Gaza. The reconstruction of Gaza remains critical to ensuring its stability and he urges a rapid resolution of the matter.”
Hamas has built a sophisticated network of tunnels that it has used to penetrate Israel to carry out terrorist attacks on civilians and soldiers. Israel destroyed most of the tunnels during the summer of 2014, but Hamas has since worked vigorously to rebuild the network, many times at the expense of Gazans, from whom they steal building materials, which they use for military build-up.
Speaking in February, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said that the IDF number one mission is to counter the threat posed by Hamas’ attack tunnels emanating from Gaza.