Hamas forces have been raiding relief facilities and seizing
cement and other supplies donated through the United Nations for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. They said Hamas was using the supplies to help restore its military in wake of the war with Israel in 2014.
“Hamas reaches it out to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood and uses reconstruction supplies to create a new balance of terror, despite of the distress felt by the people of the strip, many of whom sleep under a temporary roof,” Israeli Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, government coordinator for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said.
In a briefing on Feb. 25, Mordechai outlined Hamas plundering of the hundreds of millions of dollars in supplies allocated for displaced Gazans since October 2014. The general said Hamas was focusing on building material, transported on a daily basis by up to 550 trucks.
“They are imposing taxes and seizing building material by force to reconstruct their terror tunnels,” Mordechai said.
Officials said the briefing marked an Israeli government campaign to warn the international community of an impending explosion in the Gaza Strip. They said Hamas was being encouraged by Iran and Turkey to launch another rocket war against Israel.
“Hamas presents Israel with severe obstacles in creating direct, vibrant commerce with the Palestinian Authority, its representatives in Gaza, and with the Palestinian people,” Mordechai said.
Israel has reported the delivery of 65,000 tons of cement since the end of 50-day war with Hamas in August 2014. But officials said much of the cement was diverted to the black market or Hamas and its Palestinian militia allies.
“Under current conditions in the Gaza Strip, in which Hamas tries to gobble 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,” Mordechai said.