As Hamas Tunnels Back Into Israel, Palestinians Are Afraid, Too

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As Hamas Tunnels Back Into Israel, Palestinians Are Afraid, Too

Post by Guest on Sun May 22, 2016 5:34 pm

KHUZAA, Gaza Strip — The attack tunnels Hamas has constructed running from Gaza into Israel have long sown deep fears in the communities on the Israeli side of the border fence, where residents talk of nightmares about Palestinian militants popping up into their dining rooms or kindergartens.
Now, the tunnels are keeping others up at night: the Palestinians who live on the Gaza side of the fence. People living on the edges of Gaza border towns, like the Israelis a few miles away, complain of hearing surreptitious digging in the wee hours, and voice a parallel anxiety about the tunnels being rapidly rebuilt near their homes becoming targets for Israeli strikes. They are raising unusually harsh — albeit anonymous, for fear of reprisal — criticism of Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules Gaza, for putting people at risk. (They also sought anonymity to avoid their neighborhoods being targeted for Israeli strikes.)
“Dear God — we will be torn apart,” said a 42-year-old woman in Khuzaa, a village near the fence. She spoke on the condition she be identified only as Umm Nidal — Arabic for mother of Nidal, her eldest son — for fear of reprisal by Hamas.

Gesturing at the lumpy sand lot where she believes a tunnel entry point is hidden next to the shelter of tin, tarp and wood where her family has lived since their home was destroyed in the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, she said, “I am sure, one million percent, that those with tunnels under their houses cannot sleep, or taste the joy of life.” The fears of Umm Nidal and her neighbors only intensified over the past month as Israeli officials announced that they had located two tunnels about 100 feet underground — the first since the August 2014 cease-fire that ended 50 days of fighting in which more than 2,100 Palestinians and 70 Israelis were killed.
One, the Israelis said, was equipped with electricity, communications lines and a rail to help clear rubble. The Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, also reported that a captured Hamas fighter had revealed the routes of tunnels in northern Gaza and said some included rooms for resting, showers and dining areas.

“Every tunnel that appeared on that map will be hit in the day before the night,” said a woman who lives with her extended family in a small shack on the edge of the northern border town of Beit Hanoun. The tunnels were the prime rationale Israel gave for its ground invasion of Gaza during the 2014 battle with Hamas, which began after 13 gunmen emerged from one at dawn about a mile from a small kibbutz. Israel’s leaders say that they destroyed 32 tunnels during the 2014 operation, including 14 that penetrated into Israeli territory. During the conflict, Hamas fighters killed five Israeli soldiers after infiltrating their base through a tunnel, and at least 23 Palestinian militants were killed after invading Israel through tunnels on four separate occasions. Israeli officials have said recently that Hamas has most likely rebuilt much of its underground network. At least 18 Hamas members have been killed in tunnel accidents since the end of the war, according to death notices posted on the website of its military wing.

After the announcement of the second tunnel discovery this month, Hamas fighters clashed with Israeli forces near the fence for two days, leading to Israeli airstrikes that, according to Palestinian news reports, killed a 55-year-old woman. Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, said on Friday that Hamas deliberately put civilians in harm’s way by digging tunnels underneath homes, which he called “an insidious plan” to attack Israelis “while concealing Hamas activities behind the people of Gaza.” Taher El-Nounou, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said tunnels “create a sense of a balance of power” against an enemy with far more sophisticated equipment, including drones. “The Israelis can watch our fighters on the ground, but can they say what is inside a tunnel?” Mr. Nounou said. “As long as there is Israeli aggression against us, the tunnels will be our priority.” Sari Bashi, a spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch and expert on international law regarding warfare, said that building tunnels in residential neighborhoods was not explicitly prohibited. But she said militant groups had “an obligation to take all feasible measures to protect civilians, including not taking the armed conflict to civilian areas, to the extent possible.”

A tunnel entrance that Israel’s military says it discovered this month.  Credit Amir Cohen/Reuters  
Ms. Bashi said that while Gaza’s density makes that difficult, “it also seems as if armed groups are choosing to dig tunnels in populated areas because it provides cover, and that raises questions.” In April, Israel suspended the delivery of cement to Gaza for the reconstruction of homes destroyed in the 2014 war, accusing an official in Gaza’s economy ministry of siphoning construction materials for other purposes. The ministry denied the allegations. About 4,065 of the 17,800 destroyed homes, or 23 percent, have been reconstructed, according to data from the United Nations, which is overseeing the mechanism for importing construction materials. An additional 5,095 homes were in the process of being rebuilt but the work has been halted because of the Israeli suspension. Among those are the home of a woman from Beit Hanoun, who is 42 and said that when she received her first voucher to buy cement from an approved vendor, he had nothing to sell her. At the same time, the woman — who, like a dozen border residents interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could speak frankly about Hamas and to avoid tipping off the Israeli military — and her relatives have been jolted awake over the past year by trucks rolling by at night, she said.

Residents said they had heard thudding noises below an incongruous-looking nearby shack that they think covers a tunnel entrance. They said they were too afraid to ask the truck drivers or other men they see around the shack what was going on. “How can we say they are helping when they are building tunnels?” a woman asked of Hamas, tapping the rubble under her feet. Naji Sarhan, the deputy housing minister in Gaza, denied that Hamas was taking construction material, particularly cement, intended for reconstruction, instead accusing vendors of illegally selling their supplies on the black market. He said Hamas had “its own ways” to obtain building materials. In Beit Hanoun’s “Caravan Quarter,” a cluster of donated mobile homes where hundreds have been camped since the war’s end as they wait to rebuild, the anger was palpable. “We have a Gaza City under the ground, and we have nothing up here,” said one 23-year-old in the camp, who spoke on the condition he be identified only as Akram, and said he made a living delivering groceries.

A neighbor who is 29 and goes by the name Abu Mohammad, said that the danger of nearby tunnels made him reluctant to rebuild. “I give it 99.5 percent that our house will be destroyed again,” he said. “I go crazy thinking about it.” Instead, Abu Mohammad said he was trying to sell his plot of land on the fringe of Beit Hanoun and move to the relatively  safer confines inside town. But the only offer he has gotten was for the equivalent of $140 a square meter — less than half the $310 he paid in 2013. In Johor al-Deek, another town along Gaza’s 32-mile edge, one mother who goes by the name Umm Fadi said she had sold four sheep and her gold jewelry, used her savings and then borrowed money to scrape together $8,750 to buy a quarter of an acre in sight of the fence. A similar plot farther inland would have cost more than $20,000, she said.

“You stretch your legs to the size of your mattress,” Umm Fadi said, using a Palestinian saying for living within your means.
She knows there are probably tunnels under the property. Her sister-in-law, who declined to give her name, noted that Israeli airstrikes during the 2014 conflict exposed tunnels in the area. “The land was pounded, and everything showed,” she said. A few months ago, a relative of theirs slipped into a tunnel in the area during heavy rains, and had to be pulled out by passers-by. “We lost our home last time,” Umm Fadi said, shaking her head. “This time we fear for the souls of our children.”

This is why of those lefty regressives that support Hamas, an Islamist terrorist group. Support a group because they both share one thing above everything else.
Hatred of the Jews.
Hamas as seen hates the Jews, more than looking after the citizens of Gaza.
This is evident when it uses materials to build attack tunnels, instead of bomb shelters. Places weapons in schools and hospitals. Fires them from civillian areas, breaking the geneva convention. Thus being a war crime. They even force people to remain in their homes after being warned of impending attacks by Israel. Claiming they are to be martyrs. They use thus human shields to protect weapons, over that of humans, the citizens of Gaza.
When are those on the left going to realize what exactly they support by supporting Hamas?
This group engineers the deaths of countless civillians in every campaign their start agaaints Israel. Again evident when a peace plan was proposed by Eygpt in the last conflict in the first week. Which Israel acceped and Hamas refused.
Why did they refuse?
Becuase the body count was not big enough yet for them to garner sympathy.
What kind of sick group deliberately makes cannon fodder of its own people, for propaganda purposes?


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