Since coming to power in a violent coup in 2007 in Gaza, the Iranian-backed Hamas terror group has systematically exploited Palestinian civilians, using them to protect their terrorist infrastructure while stealing enormous quantities of resources to build their war machine.
From diverting economic resources to the endangerment of human lives, these activities not only perpetuate the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza – representing a crime against humanity – but also give Hamas operational advantages in its war against Israel where they win not only when they kill Israeli soldiers, but also when Israel inadvertently harms Palestinian civilians.
Here are seven ways Hamas exploits Gaza’s Palestinian civilians to further its genocidal aim to destroy Israel.
Hamas diverts critical civilian resources for its terrorism
Construction materials for terror tunnels: Hamas has a long history of diverting cement and steel intended for civilian reconstruction projects for the creation of a complex terror tunnel network known as “the Metro” that runs beneath Gaza.
Hamas’ tunnel network is believed to be the second largest in the world, behind North Korea, and is estimated to be around 500km (311 miles) with some 1,300 tunnels. They are equipped with rails, electricity, ventilation, communication lines, and even repurposed oxygen tanks initially sent as aid for Gazan hospitals.
Ambulances as transport vehicles: Hamas uses ambulances as part of its terror operations to shield its terrorists from Israeli forces. This use of ambulances not only denies civilians who are injured the use of the ambulances but puts at risk medical workers.
Everyday items for rockets: Hamas also has a history of transforming everyday items into weapons. Sewer pipes are pulled out of the ground to make rockets, and fiberglass intended to repair fishing boats is also diverted to the rocket industry. Even chemicals like castor oil and additives such as aluminum dust have been imported to produce rocket fuel, along with converting salt into a substance called AP (ammonium perchlorate for rocket fuel), using Iranian techniques.
Hamas steals Palestinian funds to build its terror operations
The Hamas leadership steals funds intended for Palestinian civilians to build a financial empire outside the Gaza Strip worth about $700 million that supports its terror operations.
Taxes to fund terrorism: In 2018 alone, Hamas made approximately half a billion dollars from taxes on goods such as gas and cigarettes coming into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. Instead of investing this substantial income in the welfare of Palestinian civilians, the funds go primarily to fund its terror operations, offering no vision for economic growth or improvement in living conditions.
Foreign money: Nor does Hamas invest any of the tens of millions of dollars it gets from Iran every year – estimated to be about $100 million a year and split among Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – in any civilian project, instead investing all of it towards its terror operations.
Read the full article at American Jewish Committee.