Post-Disengagement: Guided Missiles, 10 Million Bullets

Three years after the Disengagement program that expelled Jews from Gaza, Hamas has amassed an arsenal of guided missiles and 10 million bullets.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu ,

Tunnel discovered at Rafiah
Tunnel discovered at Rafiah
Israel News Photo: (IDF)

Three years after the Disengagement program that ended the Jewish presence in Gaza, Hamas has amassed an arsenal of guided missiles and 10 million bullets.

Hamas has equipped its new army with a massive amount of weapons since the government carried out its Disengagement program, forcing Jews out of the Gaza region and withdrawing all Israeli soldiers from the area. In the past year alone, 175 tons of explosives, precision guided missiles and, thousands of machine guns and 10 million rounds of ammunition have reached Hamas, according to intelligence estimates reported by Der Spiegel.

Israel insisted that the halt in weapons smuggling is part of the current temporary ceasefire, but smuggling continues, the German publication said. 

Earlier this week, intelligence officials said that four tons of explosives recently were smuggled into the hands of the rapidly growing Hamas army, which is estimated to include more than 10,000 terrorists. However, the amount is a tiny fraction in the arsenal of Hamas, which has been intensifying training sessions and organizing its army on the Hizbullah model in anticipation of a confrontation with the Israeli Defense Forces.

Smuggling through tunnels has become a way of life for Gaza residents, and halting the smuggling would further devastate the economy. Five thousand Arabs work in the tunnels, Der Spiegel estimated.

Carrying out the ceasefire condition to halt smuggling would hurt the smugglers' empire. Several dealers in contraband were behind the rocket firing on Israel two weeks ago because they wanted the government to continue to close off the Gaza crossings. "The ceasefire may be good for the people of Gaza, but not for us," says Abu Yakub, assistant to millionaire Abu Ibrahim, described as "king of the tunnels."

Egypt, in an effort to prove to Israel and the United States that it is fighting smuggling, occasionally discovers and blows up a tunnel, but each one often has several different exits, making the sealing of one of them ineffective.

In a commentary on the tangled maze of Middle East thinking, Abu Yakub told Der Spiegel, "It's fine with the Israelis for Hamas to remain strong in Gaza, because it means that no one forces them to seriously negotiate a peace plan."