Photo: The Office for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories
Truck carrying building supplies
Photo: The Office for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories

IDF: Hamas foiling direct trade with Gaza

Top Israeli official responsible for coordination with PA tells Palestinian journalists that Israel will ease restrictions only when Hamas stops commandeering building supplies to use in terror attacks.

"Hamas presents Israel with severe obstacles in creating direct, vibrant commerce with the Palestinian Authority, its representatives in Gaza, and with the Palestinian people," said Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, at a press conference on Wednesday with Palestinian media.



The reconstruction of the Gaza has been meandering, donor nations which pledged billions for the project have yet to fulfill their promises, and the rivalry between Fatah and Hamas all contribute to the sluggish pace of recovery in the Strip.


Meanwhile, Egypt has not announced any intention to open the border crossing in Rafah and continues its expansive military operation on its side of the fence. Hamas, on the other hand, has been investing all its resources gearing up for another conflict, despite the economic difficulties.


Construction supplies in Gaza (Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)
Construction supplies in Gaza (Photo: AP)

The terror group's members are spending their days rebuilding the attack tunnels and stocking up on homemade artillery – including near-daily rocket trials towards the sea, with the last incident occurring this morning.


The impending feeling of another conflagration in Gaza among the residents led Maj. Gen. Mordechai to gather representatives of Palestinian media outlets in order to explain the situation.


"Hamas reaches it out to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood and uses reconstruction supplies to create a new balance of terror, in spite of the distress felt by the people of the Strip, many of whom sleep under a temporary roof," he said.


Makeshift dwelling in Gaza (Photo: Reuters)
Makeshift dwelling in Gaza (Photo: Reuters)


The COGAT blamed Hamas for discouraging the will to reconstruct the Strip. "Israel wants to rebuild the Strip and improve the conditions of those who live there, but every action by Hamas against Israel leads to a response and a deterioration of the situation."


Maj. Gen. Mordechai presented the Palestinian journalists with figures claiming that every day 550 trucks enter Gaza to transport goods like fabric, natural gas, and other products – providing some relief to residents. He said that through Wednesday, the Strip received 65 thousand tons of cement and more than 45,000 residents purchased the material to rebuild their homes.


Despite the best efforts of international observers, Ynet revealed several weeks ago that some of the cement makes its way to Hamas' hands, as part of a black market which developed in the Strip.


The COGAT did not directly address the black market, but said Hamas prevents the reconstruction by collecting taxes and violently taking building supplies in order to rebuild its terror tunnels.


According to Maj. Gen. Mordechai, the social and economic situation in the Strip is essential to the reconstruction project. He added that when conditions change and the Palestinian Authority is granted responsibility for receiving the supplies, a variety of civil steps will open up for transferring commodities to and from the Strip.


"Under current conditions in the Strip, in which Hamas tries to 'eat up' as much of the goods entering the Strip and collecting large taxes intended for its terror regime, passage will be permitted only in coordination with the State of Israel in order to prevent terrorists from attacking Israel," he concluded.


פרסום ראשון: 02.26.15, 00:59
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