Israel broke up an attempt by Hamas, the terrorist organization that maintains complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip, to smuggle chemicals that can be used to create explosives which were hidden in shipments of medical equipment, The Times of Israel reported Sunday.
Israel’s Crossing Authority found containers of chemicals a week earlier. Though it didn’t identify the specific chemicals that had been interdicted, the Defense Ministry said that they could be used to create improvised explosive devices or simple rockets.
A statement from the ministry said, “the boxes included dual-use chemicals that are meant to create explosives and make explosives more powerful, which were hidden in a shipment of medical gear that was bound for the Strip.”
Both Israel and Egypt have blockaded the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control of the territory in a bloody coup in 2007, to prevent the terror group from importing weapons or even dual-use items that could be used for either terrorist or civilian purposes. Dual-use items such as fertilizers are subject to special screening procedures to ensure that they are only used for peaceful purposes.
The chemicals that were intercepted were discovered at a new laboratory constructed at the Kerem Shalom crossing through which most good and humanitarian aid pass into the Gaza Strip.
“This discovery joins the dozens of smuggling attempts foiled by Kerem Shalom Crossing Authority employees during 2017,” Israel’s Defense Ministry said.
Last week, Jason Greenblatt, the American Special Representative for International Negotiations, blasted Hamas for prioritizing the building of “tunnels & rockets” at the expense of “getting the lights on, the water flowing & the economy growing” for the people of Gaza.
The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff reported in March 2016 on a scheme where Hamas enriched itself using Qatari money that was intended to build homes for Gazans. Although the homes were meant to be free, Hamas charged families $40,000 each, ostensibly to connect utilities, collecting an estimated $38 million to fund its other activities.
Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh pointed out a month earlier that Hamas has prioritized building up its terror infrastructure over rebuilding Gazan homes, writing that “the last thing Hamas cares about is the welfare of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
In December 2014, Neri Zilber observed that, while Fatah and Hamas fight over control of Gaza’s reconstruction, “Israel, of all the parties involved, has shown the greatest degree of flexibility towards a Gaza Strip still ruled by Hamas.”
[Photo: משרד הביטחון / Facebook]