Jerusalem – Yesterday, a U.N. report submitted to the U.N. Security Council by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon confirmed that, on March 31, 2008, Hezbollah terrorists threatened to kill UNIFIL armed forces last month after UNIFIL discovered a Hezbollah truck carrying arms and ammunition for the terrorists in southern Lebanon. The report indicated that UNIFIL troops were on patrol and pulled over the truck. When they approached the vehicle, armed Hezbollah terrorists exited and threatened them at gunpoint. The UNIFIL troops returned to their cars and went back to their base.

Although the purpose of UNIFIL is indeed to prevent precisely these kind of weapons-smuggling activities of the Hezbollah, the UNIFIL troops were not prepared to face down an armed threat by Hezbollah, and simply allowed the weapons lorry to pass through the UNIFIL checkpoint.

According to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, Hezbollah is not allowed to transport weaponry anywhere in southern Lebanon.

The incident constitutes a major violation of U.N. resolution 1701 , which Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert counts among Israel’s great successes of the Second Lebanon War.

Official: Hamas Makes Millions From Israel’s Sanctions Against Gaza

A senior official of Israeli intelligence has issued a report which shows that the Israeli sanctions against Gaza is leading, paradoxically, to increased wealth of the Hamas government in Gaza. The tunnel owners rent them to smugglers for $20,000 per day, while the Hamas government charges particularly high taxes on the goods that are brought through them.

Approximately 70 smuggling tunnels from Egypt are in operation 24 hours a day.

Israeli sanctions have turned the tunnels into a particularly profitable business that bring their owners $1.4 million per day and have also become a significant source of income for Ismail Haniyeh’s government.

“Every measure by Israel to tighten the blockade leads to a large wave of smuggling through the tunnels,” the report said. “Everything goes through them, from needles to rockets, from large containers, fuel and concrete to rifle bullets.”

On every large carton containing 50 boxes of cigarettes, a product very much in demand in the Gaza Strip, Hamas takes $50. The price of a box of cigarettes to the consumer is more than $3 – more than three times the price on the Egyptian side of the border and more than twice the ordinary price.

“Hamas takes 20 percent of the smuggled fuel and a high tax on smuggling concrete or foodstuffs,” the report says. The price of products that are smuggled through the tunnels is three times higher than their ordinary price. Thus, for example, a 50-kilogram sack of concrete smuggled from Egypt is sold for approximately 150 new Israeli shekels.

The market in Gaza is now flooded with Egyptian cheeses of all kinds – at prices that are twice as high as in the past.

Who in Gaza has money for such products?

It would seem that the elite in Gaza can afford the high prices at which the products are sold. The rest of the inhabitants must do without everything that is not considered essential.

Israeli High Official: ‘Do Not Give Them Food’

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon has suggested cutting off all contact with the Gaza Strip and stopping all supply of food through the crossing points that Hamas attacked.

In response to attempts by Hamas to infiltrate the crossing points at Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz, Mr. Ramon suggests closing all the crossing points between Israel and the Gaza Strip and stopping the ongoing supply of food and fuel.

Mr. Ramon said recently that Israel must “close all the crossing points to the Gaza Strip and strike with all the power that the IDF possesses in order to overthrow Hamas’ regime in Gaza.”

Mr. Ramon believes that Israel has every justification for such a measure because Hamas is responsible for attacking the crossing points and for attempts to harm Israelis who are trying to transport food and fuel to the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip. Mr. Ramon also suggests that, in the future, Israel transport the fuel and food through the Nitzana crossing point – into Egyptian territory – in order to prevent harm to Israelis.

Several months ago, Mr. Ramon suggested warning Hamas in the Gaza Strip that Israel would respond with indiscriminate gunfire at the areas from which Kassam rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel, even at the price of harming their civilian population.

The Israeli security cabinet did not accept Mr. Ramon’s proposal at the time.

Mr. Ramon intends to raise his new proposal to close the crossing points at the security cabinet’s next meeting.

Mr. Ramon believes that tightening the blockade of the Gaza Strip will lead to the overthrow of the Hamas regime and that, when this happens, it will be replaced by a joint multinational Arab force.

“Bigger and stronger regimes than Hamas’ in Gaza have been overthrown as a result of international isolation,” Mr. Ramon said. He said that Hamas cannot exist without the lifeline of fuel and food from Israel.

Meanwhile, members of the Israeli Parliament Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee have also called upon the Israeli prime minister and the defense minister to close the crossing points to the Gaza Strip.

“Recent events obligate us to carry out the disengagement from Gaza, this time for real,” said the former deputy director of Israeli intelligence, Member of Israeli Knesset Yoel Hasson. “We must make the Palestinians understand the price of electing Hamas in order to prevent a similar process in Judea and Samaria. People who trade in the blood of our children will not trade it for fuel or anything else. Our children’s blood is more precious than rice, sugar or tomatoes.”

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2008


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.