Wednesday, December 03, 2014

  • Wednesday, December 03, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
You know how all the cement that is being imported to Gaza is supposed to be used only for specific international projects? How the UN says it created a mechanism ensuring that the cement will not be diverted?

Yesterday, Gaza journalist Hazem Balousha tweeted this:


Yesterday, 600 tons of cement were sent into Gaza. Assuming that Balousha is telling the truth, here's where some of it ended up.

The other big news in the Palestinian Arab press is the Ministry of Finance in Gaza, controlled by Hamas, has started taxing every ton of cement a fee of 20 shekels. The PA denounced the move but there are reports that customs agents in Gaza are imposing the tax, and as a result the shipments of cement today have been suspended.

These articles also make clear that cement that is supposed to be earmarked for specific projects have already been diverted, as they talk about cement traders and private buyers who are selling and buying cement. The UN mechanism to control the distribution of cement is clearly failing.

And this almost certainly means that Hamas is using this new cement to rebuild its terror tunnels. 

UPDATE: Hamas has apparently relented and stopped imposing the tax after complaints. But the undersecretary of finance said that there was a monopoly by a certain company to sell the cement and it adds its own fee of 150 shekels per ton, so why cry crocodile tears over the Hamas tax when this company makes more?

The Gaza Ministry of Housing is apparently in charge of which citizens can get the cement and construction materials, and they have published a list of nearly 6000 homeowners who qualify.  This sure seems like a system that is ripe for corruption and diversion of the materials.

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