Palestinians Pay Dearly for Hamas ‘Resistance Tunnels’
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)