Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Hamas smuggling Intifada?

Hamas aims to destroy Israel. You learn that from the Hamas Charter. You also learn it from how Hamas behaves.

It fires rockets into Israel. It teaches its children to hate Israel. It starts wars with Israel.

When it starts a war with Israel and then gets hammered by Israel, it begs the world for help. It cries that Israel-the-brutal has turned Gaza into a Holocaust.  

When, inevitably, international donations show up, Hamas redirects them away from rebuilding for civilians. It uses those donations to rebuild its war machine.

Part of that war-rebuilding effort amounts to a ‘smuggling Intifada’ against Israel. ‘Intifada’ refers to actions by ‘Palestinians’ to ‘shake off’, or ‘resist’ the supposed ‘Israeli occupation’. This smuggling Intifada has the same goal as a knife or car Intifada: to ‘resist’ (attack) Israel.    

To fight this ‘smuggling Intifada’, Israel won’t allow an open border to Gaza. It demands that any truck arriving at the border seeking to cross into Gaza be inspected thoroughly.

Naturally, Israel gets demonized for this. When Israel stops trucks from going into Gaza it becomes the demon ‘Zio-nazi occupier’ who, instead of helping the ‘Palestinian people’, prefers to make its border searches so long and cumbersome that reconstruction slows to a snail’s pace (Zvi Bar’el, “Construction materials are arriving to rebuild Gaza, but the red tape is thick”, Haaretz, November 15, 2014).

But the war-like behaviour you see in this Intifada isn’t Israel’s. It’s Hamas’.

To set the record straight, Israel has not neglected Gaza. Since reconstruction efforts began in earnest in late 2014, Israel has allowed more that 1.2 million tons of goods and material into Gaza (“Reconstruction in Gaza”,, June 17, 2015). That adds up to more than 550 tons a day (through June 17, 2015).

Still, Israel will protect itself. It will capture as much smuggled goods as it can.

Here are some examples of Hamas smuggling failures from the last 12 months. These failures reveal why Israel has to slow down reconstruction deliveries--to defend itself:

-Israeli authorities found 20 tons of iron oxide marked specifically for civilian use.  Iron oxide can be used for military purposes. 20 tons of it can be used to build more than 20,000 rockets (Abraham Rabinovich, “Israel Taking Major Steps to Battle Hamas’ Attempts to Smuggle Weaponry”, Washington Free Beacon, December 22, 2015).

-Israel has opened a warehouse to house seized goods capable of being used for war purposes. Some of the items confiscated include bullet-proof vests, boots, scuba diving equipment, welding equipment, advanced cameras and generators of a kind used in tunnel construction (ibid).

Tunnels are Hamas’ super-weapon. It’s fair to say that tunnels are the one ‘weapon’ Israel appears to fear most. Anything Israel can do to interdict tunnel construction materials will enhance Israel’s self-defense. Any such material Hamas can smuggle into Gaza will enhance its war-making capability.

-On one occasion, Israeli authorities at the border noticed a generator going to Gaza had an unusually large gas tank. They took the gas tank apart. Inside, they discovered a small dismantled tractor designed for digging tunnels (ibid).

-A ‘thinner’ was discovered to be a liquid used in the production of rocket fuel (ibid).

-Dismantled drones were found hidden inside air conditioners (ibid).

-A block of marble was found to be hiding welding equipment (ibid).

To protect itself, Israel has no choice but to require that every truck arriving at a Gaza crossing point must unload. Items must be examined before being reloaded onto trucks headed into Gaza. Boxes and containers must be X-rayed. All of this takes time.

Hamas exacerbates its Gaza reconstruction debacle because it refuses to commit to its civilians’ needs. Instead, it’s aggressive about rebuilding its tunnels and restocking its weapons supplies (Shlomi Eldar, “Hamas focuses on rebuilding tunnels as Gazans suffer”, ALMonitor, March 5, 2015).

How does the hate-Israel industry view this ‘smuggling Intifada’? It cries to the world that Israel has no right to restrict what’s called ‘dual-use’ (civilian-military) reconstruction material. It claims that Hamas’ tunnels are legitimate (Ali Abunimah, “Why has there been almost no reconstruction in Gaza?”, electronicIntafada, August 20, 2015) . They are used only for self-defense (ibid). Therefore, by confiscating materials used to build tunnels, the hate-Israel industry claims, Israel refuses the ‘Palestinian people’ their right to self-defense (ibid).

But the tunnels found by Israel during the 2014 Gaza-Israel war weren’t for ‘self-defense’.  The Hamas tunnels Israel discovered last year all ran from Gaza into Israel (not from Gaza away from Israel). This suggests a hostile, not defensive purpose. More important, the Israelis also discovered that most (if not all) of the tunnels they found ended closer to small Jewish civilian communities than military installations.

Hamas continues its war against Israel. Smuggling construction material into Gaza is part of that war. Maybe we should call this Hamas smuggling war the ‘smuggling Intifada’.

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