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Gaza Destruction and Hamas Terror Tunnels

All international television news networks are showing video clips of the devastation that Israel has wrought upon Gazan communities. Wide areas of Hanoun and Shejaiya neighborhoods have been reduced to humongous piles of rubble; it must seem to Western viewers that Israel is just a callous monster that has absolutely no regard for Palestinian life. Watching these clips and listening to the majority of the accompanying audios from reporters it is as if the poor Palestinians have done nothing to warrant such indiscriminate destruction. The majority of the foreign reporters limit their reporting to what the Palestinians are suffering; there is barely a mention of the reasons for the havoc that has befallen their towns and Gaza City. It is all about what Israel has done and nothing about there reason why Israel has been forced to level huge swathes of Palestinian home areas.

First of all, reporters are not allowed to report anything except the Hamas line, which is that Israel is the aggressor and casualties are all civilians, the great majority being women and children. Any reporter that does not follow the Hamas line is not allowed to report, period. Reporters who would not follow the Hamas propaganda line have been confined to their hotels and have been prevented from leaving Gaza. Hamas gains bonus sympathy points when reporters are killed while being locked into Gaza when air and artillery strikes are being carried out.

Second of all, and most importantly, Hamas has been firing rockets from between homes in the devastated neighborhoods and Israel has been targeting those rocket launching sites. On top of the crime of firing missiles from populated areas, Hamas has also constructed a labyrinth of what is now called “attack” or “terror” tunnels. This tunnel network runs beneath the neighborhoods and extend under Israel’s border and exit inside Israel, either near or inside Israel kibbutzim and moshavim. Some of these tunnels, those nearest to the Israeli border, are only hundreds of meters in length while many are a kilometer or more in length; the longest tunnel discovered thus far is two and one half kilometers in length. Israel has discovered more than 45 tunnels, each of which has side tunnels that connect to other tunnels, and each has a multiple of exit and entrance chutes. Israel has demolished many of these tunnels by drilling down at variously set distances through the 18 plus meters (yards) of earth and reinforced concrete and inserted explosives, which, when detonated, creates a massive kilometers-long explosion. It is unfortunate that houses and buildings often straddle the tunnels and are also reduced to rubble; however, the residents were given warnings that they needed to leave in order to not be harmed when Israel is about to attack a weapons cache or destroys tunnels that run under the neighborhood. Some Palestinians have heeded Israel’s warnings and some have opted to heed Hamas’s order to remain in their homes to act as human shields.

While half of all Palestinian casualties are fighting-age males, and hundreds have been positively identified as Hamas gunmen, which makes their deaths legitimate, the death toll is exaggerated by the fact that civilians have no bomb shelters to which they can run. Hamas has used almost all its billions of dollars in funds, cement, and reinforcing steel that Israel allowed into the Gaza Strip to build its terror tunnels. Israel’s military engineers estimate that each tunnel costs millions of dollars to build and contains an aggregate of 800 tons of concrete. For this reason Gaza lacks hospitals, schools, and the like because Hamas, the ruling body in Gaza, has made terror tunnels and weaponry its top priority.

If Israel does not locate and destroy these terror tunnels, which also double as underground launch sites for the more than 2,260 rockets thus far fired into Israel since July 6, it will be forced to launch another invasion of Gaza in a year or two or three when Hamas has regrouped and rearmed and begins another round of rocket fire and terror infiltrations against the Israeli population, only this time it will be with more powerful rockets that will have longer ranges. The IDF must destroy these attack tunnels if Israelis are not to live in perpetual fear of terrorist rocket attacks or terrorist infiltrations from Gaza — six Israeli soldiers have been killed by gunmen emerging from tunnels inside Israel in the past few days. One tunnel discovered ended directly below an Israeli kindergarten; it was packed with explosives in preparation for decimating the kindergarten and butchering all the children. Another tunnel discovered was full of maps and IDF uniforms. The maps clearly indicated that on Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) there was to be a mass infiltration of gunmen into Israel to commit murder and mayhem in Israel’s southern towns. Hamas actually did Israel a favor when it began firing hundreds of rockets every day into Israel, which finally prompted Israel’s ground offensive and the discovery of dozens of terror tunnels. The ground offensive has effectively stymied Hamas’s plans for mass infiltrations into Israel over the holiday period.

When the reader next sees television footage of the destruction in Gaza, the reader would do well to give a little thought to the fact that all the destruction has not happened due to a mere whim of the Israeli military. The Palestinians have brought it upon themselves by allowing Hamas to use their homes for entrances to the underground city of terror tunnels. For this Palestinians accepted payment, some were just willing to look the other way. The Palestinians have also allowed Hamas to use civilian apartment buildings and public amenities to store their munitions, which have been detonated either by Israelis soldiers or by an IAF missile. The destruction is colossal.

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