One cannot help but connect this statement to the story of four Israeli soldiers who were killed on November 10 by a hidden terrorist explosive device in a booby-trapped tunnel shaft next to a mosque in Gaza’s Beit Hanoun
The father of one of the soldiers, Major Moshe Yedidyah Leiter, grew up in Joe Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The question of the possible future of Hamas in Gaza is one that, tragically, now must be asked since the late November ceasefire has given Hamas the chance to refortify and resupply in their terrorist tunnels.
Dennis Ross, a U.S. envoy to the Middle East, admitted in an op-ed in the Washington Post in August 2014 that he put pressure on Israel to allow Hamas to import cement into Gaza.Ross acknowledged that he knew the cement might be misused. “At times, I argued with Israeli leaders and security officials, telling them they needed to allow more construction materials, including cement, into Gaza so that housing, schools and basic infrastructure could be built,” Ross wrote. “They countered that Hamas would misuse it, and they were right.”
We will never know if that cement was used to build the particular tunnel where Moshe Leiter was murdered. What we do know is that the cement was used to build thousands of terror tunnels in Gaza. And it is because of those tunnels that these Israeli soldiers had to go into Gaza and target the tunnels, one by one. That is what put them all in harm’s way and, it also must be said, allowed the terrorists to carry out October 7 in the first place. That is why Major Leiter and his fellow soldiers lost their lives on November 10.
But Ross is far from the only American to blame. Back in 2010, the Obama Administration began pressuring Israel to ease up on its blockade of cement and other building material to Gaza. Then Vice President Joe Biden told interviewer Charlie Rose, on Bloomberg TV: “We have put as much pressure and as much cajoling on Israel as we can to allow them to get building materials” into Gaza.
The international pressure on Israel intensified until finally, in 2013, the Israeli government caved in. The New York Times reported on September 17 that Israel had agreed “to allow building materials meant for private projects into the Gaza Strip for the first time in six years…Gaza has been struggling with a shortage of building materials…[An] Israeli official said that 350 trucks of cement, steel and concrete would cross into Gaza weekly.”
Giving “humanitarian aid” and “dual use” items to the people of Gaza will never bring peace and will only allow the terrorists to build more and better tunnels. Peace will only come when Hamas is eradicated along with their tunnels.
Moshe Phillips is a commentator on Middle East affairs whose writings appear regularly in the American and Israeli press.