Hamas Diverting Reconstruction Material to Rebuilding Terror Tunnels
Hamas is rebuilding its network of underground infiltration tunnels damaged in the war with Israel this past summer, the Jerusalem Post reported, citing an Israel Radio account.
Cement and building materials allowed into Gaza to help rebuild after the summer war are being used instead for tunnel rebuilding, the report said.
The United Nations brokered an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to establish a monitoring mechanism to ensure construction material is not exploited by Hamas for rebuilding the tunnels. The oversight program, which is supposed to enable the rebuilding of approximately 60,000 Gaza homes, was launched in mid-October and appears to be suffering from significant failures.
This report is the latest in a series of stories about tunnel reconstruction. Israel’s military has estimated that Hamas diverted at least $90 million that could have been used to improve life for Palestinians in Gaza to build its old tunnel network, which it used for smuggling and to plot attacks inside Israel.
Meanwhile, a top Hamas leader says that the terrorist group has repaired relations with Iran, which deteriorated over disagreements concerning Syria’s civil war. Israel’s blockade of Gaza and Egypt’s increasing border restrictions forced Hamas to mend relations with Tehran.
A Hamas official also complained about the slow pace of aid flowing into Gaza despite $5 billion in international pledges. As the latest report shows, Hamas cannot be trusted to use that money the way donors want – to rebuild Gaza’s housing and infrastructure and make life better for its residents.
Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.