T. Belman. In a sign of weakness, Netanyahu has been allowing cement into Gaza to enable rebuilding, warning all the time that he would not allow it to be used for tunnels.
When it became obvious to everyone that the cement was also being used for tunnels, he did nothing just as he did little to stop illegal building in Jerusalem or Area C and to demolish all houses built without permits. But now with this massive tunnel being discovered, he had no choice but to stop cement shipments.
Following discovery of attack tunnel under Gaza border, PM Benjamin Netanyahu stops delivery of cement into Hamas-ruled enclave, vows to prevent construction of a port – “I will not sacrifice Israel’s security for the sake of a good headline,” PM says.
By Shlomo Cesana, ISRAEL HAYOM
Cement being delivered to the Gaza Strip [Archive] | Photo credit: AP
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered on Monday a halt to Gaza Strip-bound cement shipments, following the discovery of a Hamas attack tunnel under the Israel-Gaza border.
Netanyahu’s office also stressed that the prime minister would prevent the construction of a sea port in Gaza.
Israel has let cement into the Gaza Strip as part of the rehabilitation efforts following Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. Although some 10,000 buildings were damaged during the fighting, Hamas has used the cement mostly for military purposes. While Israel has insisted it would allow let all construction materials into Gaza as part of the regular aid it provides, it has warned that shipments would stop if it turned out the cement being used for tunnel construction.
Netanyahu said on Monday a port would not be established in Gaza, adding that Gaza would only have access to the Ashdod Port in Israel, as only there can Israel inspect cargo and make sure Hamas does not smuggle in arms by sea.
“We support any form of humanitarian aid,” Netanyahu said. “But supervising a port is much more problematic. You won’t see love boats dock at such port [in Gaza]. … I will not sacrifice Israel’s security for the sake of a good headline. I will not permit the establishment of a maritime artery to Gaza through which arms and terrorism will flow.“