UPDATES 10 am Israel time, Monday, September 22 2014:
**It has been an interesting week regarding Hamas tunneling.
First we had the “Gantz-anemones-like” statement on September 17 uttered by Amos Gilad, Head of the Political Military Division of the Israel Ministry of Defense:
‘For Hamas, rehabilitation is currently important, and you cannot have rehabilitation while you are engaged in terrorism. Therefore, at the present, Hamas is not engaging in tunneling.’”
Then, less than 24 hours later after this verbal nonsense, another tunnel was discovered leading from Gaza toward Nahal Oz.
Now we have another interesting tidbit from yesterday.
Remember how israelstreet reported during the war that more than 120 children in Gaza had died building the tunnels–and that tens of more were killed by Hamas during the war for fear they would reveal the locations of the tunnels?
Palestinian sources reported yesterday that a 12 year old Palestinian boy suffocated to death when he was buried under an avalanche of sand while deep in a tunnel he was helping build near the Tel Al Sultan neighborhood of Rafah.
The death toll in Gaza continues to mount.
Hamas spokesman Salah Al-Berdwil commenting yesterday on the sinking of a boat carrying Palestinians off the coast of Malta on September 11:
“Voluntary migration [out of Gaza] is a coercive act by Israel against the Palestinian people”.
Think about that for a moment. “Voluntary migration” is a coercive act against the Palestinian people.
Let’s take a few moments this morning and put this absurd statement into context.
Human smuggling has always been big business in Gaza since Hamas took over back in 2007. Hamas operates “travel agencies” which “escort” Palestinians who want to leave and who have the money to pay Hamas under the table.
The going rate has been $3500 paid to Hamas if you want to leave through the Rafah Crossing (in which case you have to feign a “humanitarian” reason for leaving), and $2000 paid to Hamas if you are willing to go out of one of the tunnels leading into Egyptian territory.
Once out of Gaza and the hands of Hamas, the smuggled are then put into the hands of Bedouin and Egyptian smugglers who exact their own price for ferrying them from safe houses on the Gaza-Egyptian border to the Egyptian port of Damietta near Port Said. From there, another price is paid to more smugglers–in this case Egyptian and Palestinian–and they are sent by ship on their merry way to Europe where they can claim they are “refugees” (the new tactic is for Palestinians to claim they are Syrian refugees).
Except that it is not such a merry way. The crossing, which should take less than a day often takes at least a week because the smugglers keep changing boats along the way.
This all leads us to an incident that happened on September 11. Five days after leaving Damietta, a ship carrying an unknown number of people from the Sudan, Egypt, Syria, and Gaza sank off the coast of Malta resulting in the deaths of most of those aboard. Its sinking has caused an international outcry led by the so-called U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
However, what exactly happened is unclear.
All we know for sure is that eleven people survived the sinking, and two of them, Palestinians, told their story to representatives of the International Organization for Migration–which then spread it around the world.
How credible their story is about how many were on board and how the ship was deliberately sunk by another ship operated by Egyptian and Palestinian smugglers is anyone’s guess.
However, there was one piece of information provided by the Palestinian survivors which rang especially true. According to the Palestinians, they got the $2000 to pay to Hamas smugglers from the $2000 that Hamas had just given them from international donors to rebuild their homes.
You might want to think about this, dear reader, the next time you hear about money being donated by governments and “humanitarian” organizations for Gaza reconstruction. Where is the money going? Straight into the corrupt pockets of Hamas which traffics Gazans out of the territory in a business almost as large as Hamas’ use of Gazans as human shields.