It was reported over the weekend that the international community has pledged an unprecedented $5.4 billion in aid for rehabilitation of the war-torn Gaza Strip. Other reports have also surfaced suggesting that much of those funds could be used to resurrect Hamas’ war machine, in the form of terror tunnels and rockets.
One of the obvious conditions of the aid being provided is that the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, would administer the Gaza borders and not Hamas, which is classified as a terror organization by the U.S. and Europe.
Israel has been closely following the discussions of how exactly the PA forces will be posted at the Rafah, Erez, and Kerem Shalom crossings, and how they will prevent materials like concrete from getting into the hands of Hamas. The problem is that, in the past, Hamas used such materials for building tunnels, which it used in its ongoing fight against Israel, and not to build schools or hospitals or other infrastructure for the benefit of the civilian population.
Walla! reported that a senior source told it that the method by which the aid will go from the PA to Gaza may pave the way for corruption, bribery, and bureaucracy that may even slow the crossings, but also the worry of renewed tunnel construction, as Hamas will no longer be held directly responsible for the borders.
The source told the publication, “Hamas is setting in motion a sophisticated process. It is raising a ‘people’s army’ of youth aged 15 and up, so as to distance criticism on its military arm, on which it will never give up.”
Israel’s demand that Gaza be demilitarized as part of the aid it receives was by and large swept under the carpet at the Cairo donors conference.
Hamas already confirmed that Israel failed to find and destroy all of its tunnels, and has already said that it has renewed construction of them.
On top of that, the source added, it will be almost impossible in practical terms for Israel to track the movement of material to Gaza, despite the supervision mechanisms being implemented, of which Israel is also supposed to be a part.
“These are billions of shekels that will be transferred to the Palestinians, and in order to reconstruct Hamas’s tunnels, they just need a small percentage of the materials that will be allowed to be transferred to them,” stated the source.
Looking at Hamas’ track record, as an organization that openly calls for the total annihilation of the Jewish State, the group has already used millions of international aid dollars to fund its network of fighters, tunnels, and rockets.
Having the Palestinian Authority, which is now sharing power with Hamas through the so called unity government, exercise any form of control, could be construed as akin to asking the fox to guard the chickens.