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Outgoing IDF Gaza Commander: Hamas Controls the Level of Violence at the Border

The IDF’s outgoing Gaza Division commander said that the level of violence on the border between Israel and Gaza is controlled by Hamas, the terrorist group that exercises complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip, The Times of Israel reported Wednesday.

Brig. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs made his remarks at the ceremony marking the end of his tenure as the commander of the division and the installation of Brig. Gen. Eliezer Toledano, who is set to succeed him.

Fuchs also charged that Hamas commandeered many of the goods entering Gaza to build its military infrastructure.

“Most of the resources entering the Gaza Strip go toward digging tunnels and manufacturing rockets. Hamas digs into the earth and in doing so curses the land from which orchards could bloom,” he said.

Fuchs, who has commanded the Gaza Division since 2016, added that Hamas “dictates the level of violence along the border,” referring to the violent riots under the guise of the “March of Return,” which have been going since March 30.

The observation aligns with a statement made by Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in Gaza, last month. In a speech to a Hamas conference in September, Sinwar said, “After the reconciliation efforts (between Hamas and Fatah) reached an impasse, a number of factions planned to cause an internal explosion in the Gaza Strip, but the Marches of Return thwarted the plan.”

In addressing the challenges facing the IDF in the south, Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the head of the Southern Command under which the Gaza Division operates, said, “This period is a complicated one. Our advancements, our developments, and our advantages over our enemy are clear and palpable. The enemy is deterred and the people are desperate, looking in every way under the ground and above it to harm our nation.”

Under Fuchs’s leadership, the Gaza Division was awarded a letter of commendation by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot for its handling of the Hamas-led riots and destroying tunnels, preventing terrorist infiltrations.

On Wednesday, Israel allowed Qatari-bought fuel into Gaza for the first time in a week, since a rocket severely damaged a house in Beersheba. Over the past week, the violence at the border has decreased. However, on Wednesday, for the first time in a week, a rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel, landing harmlessly in an open field.

[Photo: U.S. Embassy Jerusalem / Flickr ]