By Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn
It required 800 tons of concrete to build the terror tunnel that almost resulted in a massacre of Israelis on a kibbutz near the Gaza border last week, the Washington Post reports.
Where did all that concrete come from? And how is it related to the $47-million in “humanitarian aid” that Secretary of State John Kerry now wants to give to Hamas?
Most countries prohibit the export of seemingly innocent products that could in fact be used for military or terroristic purposes. Rogue regimes such as Iran and North Korea routinely exploit such “dual use” items, importing them under the guise of peaceful civilian purposes, and then putting them to use in the production of nuclear or chemical weapons.
In the case of Israel and Gaza, concrete is a classic dual-use item. The Hamas regime and pro-Palestinian groups around the world for years have been demanding that Israel permit Gaza to import concrete and other construction materials. How else will people be able to build houses? they ask. Surely Israel and its supporters are not so insensitive that they would want innocent Palestinians to be homeless? And what about the children?
As long ago as 2010, the Obama administration began pressuring Israel to ease up on its blockade of such imports to Gaza. Vice President Joe Biden told interviewer Charlie Rose, on Bloomberg TV: “We have put as much pressure and as much cajoling on Israel as we can to allow them to get building materials” into Gaza.
The international pressure on Israel intensified until finally, last September, the Israeli government buckled. The New York Times reported on September 17 that Israel had agreed “to allow building materials meant for private projects into the Gaza Strip for the first time in six years…Gaza has been struggling with a shortage of building materials…[An] Israeli official said that 350 trucks of cement, steel and concrete would cross into Gaza weekly.”
There are, of course, other dangerous items that Israel continues to prevent from reaching Gaza. For example, the reason Hamas’s rockets usually miss their target is that they don’t have the technology necessary to aim them directly at their favorite targets, such as kindergartens, synagogues, and hospitals. Fortunately, the Israelis have not yet relaxed their blockade to permit the entry of such technology
But thanks to all that pressure from the Obama administration and the United Nations, Gaza has been receiving plenty of concrete for “humanitarian” purposes. And now we can see why Hamas was so anxious to get those building materials–in order to build its vast network of underground terror tunnels so it could murder Israelis more easily.
This week, Secretary Kerry returned to the Middle East, with a $47-million check for Gaza. It’s for “humanitarian” purposes, he says. After all, haven’t we all seen those heart-rending photos of Palestinians whose homes have been damaged in the fighting? Who could be so cruel as to deny “humanitarian” aid?
But the problem is that so long as Hamas rules Gaza, it will use all “humanitarian” aid for its terrorist purposes. Almost anything sent to Gaza can have a dual use. Even if it can’t be put directly to use in furthering terrorism, it can be used to help the terrorists in one way or another. Gasoline can power an electric generator–or a getaway car. Food can feed innocent civilians–or sustain terrorists in some hideout. Concrete can build a house–or a terror tunnel.
The ninth lesson from the Gaza war: Giving “humanitarian aid” and “dual use” items to Hamas will never bring peace to Gaza. Only defeating and disarming Hamas will.
Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn are members of the board of the Religious Zionists of America. This article is part of a series.