Last February in Kiev, Israel nabbed Dirar Abu Sisi, an engineer from Gaza. He was suspected of helping Hamas develop weapons and of having knowledge about captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
On Thursday, the District Court in Beersheva, a town in southern Israel, released excerpts from Abu Sisi’s interrogation. Ynet described them as “priceless information on Hamas’s modus operandi”; Israel Hayom called them “a Military Intelligence goldmine.”
Abu Sisi, ynet reported, was approached after Operation Cast Lead—Israel’s offensive against Hamas in the winter of 2008-2009—by two Hamas terror chiefs. As he told interrogators, during the war “a large number of Hamas activists ran away from their positions.” There was “a failure…in decision-making coupled with an inability to use arms during the battle—because of fear.”
So the two high-ranking terrorists asked Abu Sisi to set up a military academy. Believed to be Hamas’s rocket expert, he also divulged that
I assisted Hamas in developing their missile capabilities, by identifying and handing over mathematical equations that improve the metal pipe’s ability to withstand pressure and heat. I was present when a missile was test-fired at the sea in Khan Younis [in Gaza].
Online sources came in handy to him: “I know nothing about explosives. I only calculated the pressure and heat…I downloaded the formula from the Internet.” He also said he “downloaded software pertaining to the rocket’s structure.”
As for the military academy he founded, its top graduates “reached military academies in foreign countries…including Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Iran.”
The charge sheet on Abu Sisi now stands at “nine counts, including membership in a terror organization, murder, attempted murder and arms production.”
That Israel has indeed gained valuable dope on Hamas is much to be wished. With Sinai, which borders Gaza, having descended into anarchy since the fall of Egypt’s Mubarak regime, Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups have been able to “double their rocket arsenals” and now “possess some 10,000 rockets of all types,” including some that “can reach the outskirts of…Tel Aviv.”
Meanwhile, also on Thursday, in what forms a sort of ironic counterpoint to the reports on Abu Sisi, The New York Times reported that
the State Department sent a message to Gaza’s Hamas leaders…that it would withdraw some $100 million it is spending in Gaza on health care, agriculture and water infrastructure if they did not back off a demand to audit the books of American-financed charities operating there.
It seems a spat has developed because Hamas wants to increase surveillance of various international NGOs operating in Gaza. Hamas has asked these outfits to “register with the central government, pay a fee and submit financial reports.”
That puts the State Department in a pickle, since U.S. policy prohibits direct contact with Hamas based on State’s own designation of it as a terrorist group. As the Times explains, “the United States accounts for a large share of the money that foreign governments spend on humanitarian assistance in Gaza.”
Given what Abu Sisi’s statements reveal about Hamas’s ongoing aggression against Israel, even after being drubbed in Operation Cast Lead, and tight ties with some of the world’s most heinous and anti-American regimes, the U.S. leading role in providing aid to Gaza appears strange to say the least.
Perhaps it might be more justifiable if Gaza was undergoing a humanitarian crisis. But as the Israeli authorities have been at pains to clarify, and as other Western governments acknowledged in opposing the failed second Gaza flotilla, that is not the case. Indeed, Gaza is now exporting aid to a country undergoing a true crisis, Somalia, “underscore[ing] the fact,” as Arutz Sheva points out, “that Gaza is swimming in surplus aid from [the] international community….”
And since resources are fungible, that aid, including when it goes to purposes like “health care, agriculture and water infrastructure,” means that many more resources are getting freed up for Hamas, rocket program and all.
U.S. policy in Gaza can perhaps be explained in terms of the strange power that “the Palestinians,” the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank, continue to exert over the Western mind. Is a beachhead of anti-Israeli, anti-Western aggression something the U.S. should be propping up?