Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Thursday, December 19, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Palestine Press Agency has an extensive and surprisingly candid interview laddin Rafati, Hamas' economy minister.

Rafati says that there are still a significant number of secret terrorist smuggling tunnels into Gaza, and Hamas maintains a closed-eyes policy. "The work of the resistance must be secret and Hamas does not have the authority to question the ability of these factions for obtaining the arms for their work."

He is saying that Hamas fully supports the other terror groups in Gaza and their right to smuggle weapons - but it knows that Egypt will hold it responsible if any Gaza jihadists attack in the Sinai. So Hamas is trying to have it both ways and have deniability about its knowledge of what these other groups do.

When asked if construction materials from Qatari projects (that are sometimes allowed to pass through Rafah from Egypt to Gaza) are sometimes diverted to the black market, Rafati admitted it was possible - and then added that the same thing happens to goods going to international NGOs in Gaza.

The civilian head of the Kerem Shalom crossing confirmed this to me on Wednesday.

UNRWA, for example, doesn't directly import construction materials to Gaza. They hire contractors to handle the purchases. The Kerem Shalom official told me that he knows these contractors personally because he deals with them every day, and he has no doubt that some of the materials are diverted away from the official projects.

I said that I assumed that the specifications of the approved buildings are known by Israel and they are only allowing what is specifically approved. He answered that there is no way for anyone to know if the estimate is exaggerated and no one is really double checking that every ton is necessary.

In the end, everything is about money, and if there is an opportunity for people to make more of it, they will take advantage.

Of course, this means that Hamas is probaly getting some of the "approved" materials as well.



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