Updated July 20: Canadian Ambassador to Israel, Vivian Bercovici tweeted the following: Ask #Hamas why construction materials used to build attack tunnels on Israel and not civilian defences like shelters #Hamas #Israel — Vivian Bercovici (@VivianBercovici) July 18, 2014
It is ironic that many of the tunnels that the IDF is now destroying were constructed by Hamas, using building materials and cement supplied by Israel. The Times of Israel website reported last January that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had approved the entry of roughly 1,000 tons of cement and building materials into Gaza. Israel had been supplying these types of materials spasmodically over the years depending on its assessment of the security risk. In September 2013, it resumed allowing construction materials into Gaza, but cut off the supplies a month later after the discovery of a “terror tunnel.” The passageway, which crossed from Gaza into Israel, contained explosives, and was constructed using some 500 tons of cement, according to a military spokesman. The Ma’an News Agency, a Palestinian website, confirmed the existence of the tunnel, describing it as a “sophisticated tunnel running 450 meters into Israel and intended as a springboard for militant attacks.” Haim Yelin, the head of the Israeli local council, said that he had been taken inside for an inspection. He told Israeli Army Radio, “This tunnel, which looks like the New York subway, is apparently intended to kidnap soldiers or for some other kind of terrorist attack. It is impressively executed, with concrete supports.” The Israeli news website Ynet said that the tunnel was equipped with railway tracks and lighting, and quoted chief military spokesman Yoav Mordechai as calling it “one of the most advanced terror tunnels to be uncovered in recent years.” So, why did Israel make the apparently illogical — even suicidal — decision to supply Hamas with materials that would indirectly result in the death of Israeli citizens? Sadly, this is not an idle claim because The Times Of Israel has reported in the last hour: “Two IDF soldiers, Major (res.) Amotz Greenberg, 45, and Adar Barsano, 20, were killed this morning when Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israeli territory through a tunnel from the central Gaza Strip and ambushed a military vehicle patrolling on the Israeli side of the border.” They are the first two soldiers in the current conflict to die because of a tunnel; it is unlikely they will be the last. So, to repeat the question: Why did Israel supply Hamas knowing what they would do? The simple answer — international pressure! The world — with the enthusiastic support of the media — has long bought into the Hamas narrative about the deprivation and hardship of Palestinians living in the Gaza strip. Hamas spokesmen have learned from Joseph Goebbels the propaganda tactic of “The Big Lie,” meaning if the same lie is repeated over and over again, it eventually becomes the accepted version. Israel has always permitted any goods or materials to enter Gaza, with the exception of items which could be used for terrorist purposes. Eventually, Israel was coerced into relaxing restrictions on building materials on a promise that they would only be used for specifically identified private or commercial purposes, and only under United Nations supervision. It’s not likely that the Israeli government, or defense establishment, ever truly bought into that guarantee, but there are times when the pressure is just too great to resist. Apart from the situation with the tunnels, which Israel is now frantically trying to destroy, no one watching any of the world media reports on the conflict would have the slightest idea that goods are still entering Gaza by the truckload every day. The Arutz Sheva website reported: “Despite the ongoing rocket fire by Gaza terrorists, Israel has not halted the entry of trucks into Gaza — and on Thursday, some 200 trucks carrying food and “basic supplies” entered Gaza. The government said that the trucks were allowed to pass through for “humanitarian purposes.” It should be noted that the trucks enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing point; one of the tunnels destroyed by the IDF was located right next to the crossing. All the workers at the crossing are Israeli, and they put their lives in danger every day in order for goods to get through. Once the current conflict is over, much of Gaza will have to be re-built, so Hamas already knows that it will have plenty of Israeli supplied cement with which to replace the tunnels!