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October 15, 2013 9:19 am

Palestinians Pay Dearly for Hamas ‘Resistance Tunnels’

avatar by Adam Levick

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The terror tunnel discovered by the IDF, October 7th, 2013. Photo: IDF.

The IDF recently discovered an elaborate and costly tunnel running from Gaza to Israel which was likely to be used by Hamas to launch future terror attacks.

The 1.7 km tunnel (leading from Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, into Israel), complete with an electrical supply and phone lines, was reportedly the longest ever constructed, and extends a full 18 meters underground. It cost Hamas tens of millions of dollars, and used an estimated 24,000 concrete slabs and 500 tons of concrete (material which the IDF had recently permitted into Gaza in greater quantities to benefit the ‘civilian’ construction sector). If it had been utilized in a terror attack, or a kidnapping, it could have prompted a full-scale war.

However, whilst the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood has been focused on other ‘productive’ Gaza smuggling activities, and hasn’t yet reported on the tunnel, we’d recommend that – if she does cover it – she considers framing the story in a manner similar to her coverage of a World Bank report titled ‘Israel’s West Bank control costing Palestinian economy billions, and focus on the money lost by the tunnel’s construction and its likely affect on future imports and trade.

She may also want to glean important context on the implications of the story from our guest contributor Akus who, in response to Sherwood’s World Bank story, questioned the assumption that wealth will flow from Palestinian lands due merely to an end to the ‘occupation’.  Akus suggested the speciousness of the assumption that a new Palestinian state will be economically successful, especially in light of the long history of mismanagement by the PA, which has included billions in wasted and stolen foreign aid.

Akus also pointed to factors the World Bank report on the ‘root cause’ of Palestine’s economic woes didn’t take into account.  He noted that their rosy scenario of future growth (once free of the yoke of ‘Israeli oppression’) ignores a Palestinian culture which is inimical to such progress – the deleterious effects of terror, incitement and moral scapegoating inherently inconsistent with the values necessary for social and economic progress and self-reliance.

Indeed, while most mainstream media outlets have reported on the terror tunnel, we haven’t yet read an analysis which has seriously connected the dots and provided readers with an understanding of the implications of such Islamist duplicity.

A serious contextualization of the story would note that, just last month, Israel permitted delivery of increased quantities of cement and steel for use by the private sector into Gaza, levels not seen since 2007 when Israel banned their transfer fearing that Hamas would use construction materials unsupervised by international aid agencies to fortify its positions and build tunnels for terror attacks.

Indeed, the IDF reported that “sufficient evidence suggests that terrorists methodically abuse construction materials transferred into the strip by Israel as humanitarian aid in order to build such [terror] tunnels.”

In other words, initial Israeli concerns about the potential misuse of humanitarian aid for military purposes (dual use items) have clearly been vindicated.

The next time you read a report at the Guardian or elsewhere criticizing Israeli restrictions on imports into Gaza, consider how many homes, schools, medical facilities, water sewage treatment plants, and other vital infrastructure projects could have been built in Gaza with the construction materials Hamas continues to divert for military purposes.

Further, per the post by Akus, you can conclude from the enormous resources (in time, money and manpower) that went into the Gaza terror tunnels that the rosy scenarios for peace and prosperity in another independent Palestinian polity are, at best, quite questionable.

When pro-Israel commentators criticize the Palestinian culture of incitement and terror, they aren’t engaging in ‘Zionist talking points’ but, rather, are expressing sincere concerns that the greatest peace treaty ever written can’t engender a Palestinian culture of peace, education and self-sufficiency.  Though most Israelis support in principle ‘two states for two peoples’, Israelis accurately extrapolate from the consequences of recent territorial concessions that withdrawing from land alone won’t necessarily bring peace if Palestinian leaders don’t cease in inculcating their citizenry with the values of belligerence, hate and violence.

It’s unclear how anyone truly concerned with peace in the Middle East can fail to recognize that the “resistance tunnels” in Gaza not only will cost millions to the Gazan economy, but will result in an additional loss more difficult to quantify – the continued erosion of Israeli trust, and the fear that even our bravest and most audacious peace overtures will never truly be reciprocated.

Adam Levick is the managing editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • Lynne T

    The thing about the tunnel building and other activities related to belligerent attacks and criminal activities for personal profit is that to the true believers like Gaza bound Canadian “humanitarians” John Greyson and Tarek Loubani who were recently released from detention in a Cairo jail along with 600 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, their supporters and the opinon forming media loons at the CBC is that all of this is put down to either “legitimate resistance” to the “apartheid state” or a symptom of the “Occupation”, and not a symptom of social dysfunction that clearly infects pretty well all of the MENA region to some degree.

  • Hershel Barg

    Israel should preserve that tunnel and publicise its existence to one and all. When visiting dignitaries come to Israel they should be taken to view not only the Holocaust Museum, but that tunnel as well.

    • Carl

      I think they already blew it up, after bringing in dozens for international jouralists to see it first-hand.

  • David P

    It is amazing Jews that suffered similar poverty, blame and persecution under Nazi regime, today accuse others in the same breadth. Have we forgotten our history??? It is astonishing to read heartless comments posted here. Do we have no shame?

    • John

      David, obviously you have no shame, and know nothing about the persecution of the Jews under the Nazi regime. How dare you even make that comparison. You are ignorant of the truth!

    • Lou Adams

      David is lost in a bubble that does not allow him to face the barbarism and terror of an enemy that celebrates the murder of babies. It’s just too easy for him to focus on the miniscule wrongs of Israel when the massive inhumanity of the Muslims is right in front of his face. How does a hypocrite like him sleep at night?

      • Lynne T

        The bubble is called “moral equivalence”, and David is a drama queen out to prove he is a better Jew than those of us who believe that the Palestinians actually have agency and would rather cut their noses off to spite their faces.

    • Ron

      David, you talk about “shame” in a fit of self-guilt. Most Jews will tell you what “shame” really is. “Shame” for the Jews began thousands of years ago when the Egyptians made our ancestors slaves. “Shame” was the massacre of Jews in the time of Mohammed. “Shame” was the Spanish Inquisition and a continuing assault against Jews by the Catholic Church. “Shame” was the Catholic Crusaders killing every Jew they could find. “Shame” was Martin Luther’s viciousness against Jews during the Reformation. “Shame” was when the Cossacks raided Jewish shtetels and killed Jews for fun. “Shame” was when the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem planned an extermination camp for Jews in the City of David. “Shame” was when Hitler and his henchmen killed 6 million of us. And “shame” is what you should feel for being filled with your own self-guilt about the moral and ethical values of the vast majority of your Jewish brothers and sisters, to which I say, “Shame on you, David. Shame on you.”

    • David,you are simply an “IGNORAMUS”

    • David P.

      It never ceases to amaze me. Most of my Palestinian friends now live in CanaDA, Australia and South America. There were not exiled by Israeli Jews, but after being threatened, intimidated and consistenty fleeced by so called Palestinian Authority officials, they fled because they could. Over 50% of Arab youth in the West Bank would leave tomorrow if they had where to go. Come visit and learn how reality looks from both sides of the fence.

      Yoel Ben-Avraham
      40 Year Member of the State of Israel

  • Rudy Hoffmann

    Well, there’s a solution to every problem (or non problem as the world sees it!): It’s time now that Israel reacts by building it’s own tunnel into Gaza!!! Tit for tat, then IDF can “smuggle” some peace attacks into Gaza. It could also be used to help goodhearted Palestinians to be safe and escape Hamas and getting rid of anti-Israel Arabs and Palestinians. That I would then call the real “Tunnel of Love”. KEEP GOING FELLOWS,YOUR SUCCESS IS SO CLOSE, YOU ALWAYS STOOD ON THE RIGHT SIDE! THANKS FOR BEING WHO YOU ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AHAVA

  • Lawrence Kulak

    What Israel needs to do in the future is, instead of finding out about these tunnels AFTER THEY ARE BUILT – which in any case is too dangerous for Isrselis, they should attempt to discover them is possible WHILE they are being built. Then, they should start the war of the bulldozers. The same type of bulldozer that was used to bury that idiot Rachel Cory should be employed to bury dozens of Hamasnicks while they are building the tunnel. It would them save Israel the costly efforts of tracking them down later.

    • ricardo

      Get serious. Let them waste a lot of time and money building a tunnel while shin bet keeps an eye on them. THEN close them down, having let them use up lots of time and energy. But you still have to worry about the tunnels that they haven’t found. I had a friend who was very politically incorrect. She insisted that a couple of well-placed nuclear weapons would solve Israel’s problem. I was always appalled at her bloodthirsty imprecations. But over time, I’m becoming swayed to believe that there really is no peace to be had. While I’m not yet ready to nuke all the 12’th century aggressors in that neighborhood, I am ready to see a far more aggressive stance than Israel has taken. But that’s not possible while Europe keeps blaming Israel for all the Arab aggressions. So what we need is some way of teaching Europeans about reality. Like that’s ever going to happen. If they’d known that Columbus was Jewish, most of us would not be living in North America

  • Grifter

    Excellent article.

    More aid would just mean greater investments in terrorism, not economic progress. They already received 50 times more per capita than was given by the Marshall Plan.