Hamas Is Co-Opting Humanitarian Cement Shipments For Military Use

REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is seizing as much as 95 percent of the cement entering the Gaza Strip and using it for military purposes, said the Israeli Foreign Ministry Thursday.

Director-General Dore Gold said the finding was a the result of his ministry’s investigation into Israeli aid shipments entering the Gaza strip as part of humanitarian aid efforts. Hamas has reportedly been using cement meant for civilian construction projects in order to build tunnels into Israeli territory from which the group can engage in terrorist attacks.

“From our own investigations we found that out of every 100 sacks of cement that come into the Gaza Strip [from Israel], only five or six are transferred to civilians,” said Gold, addressing the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. “A hundred sacks is what is necessary to rebuild a home, the rest are confiscated by Hamas and used for military purposes.”

The foreign ministry has been engaging in an aid program to help rebuild Gaza after the Operation Protective Edge conflict in 2014 left many buildings destroyed. The Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) is a joint U.N.-Israel-Palestinian Authority project has been in motion since 2014, but due to the fact Hamas, not the PA, that runs the Gaza Strip, its efforts have been hindered.

“In the past, Hamas has diverted massive amounts of aid and imported goods for use in its terrorist infrastructure,” said the ministry’s website. “For instance, building materials worth tens of millions of dollars were diverted for the construction of Hamas’ cross-border tunnels, which were used to attack Israel during the summer 2014 conflict.”

Despite Hamas’ intrusion, the ministry says it has provided over 3.4 million tons of building materials to the territory. Over 100,000 Palestinian homes have been repaired since the conflict, with nearly 3,000 new homes being built in addition.

The ministry believes that Hamas is currently rearming itself and continues to build up infrastructure which it can use in its next attack on Israel.

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