Hamas: We'll Keep Smuggling Arms

Top Hamas official declares that his Palestinian terrorist group will continue to smuggle weapons into Gaza, despite international protests.

Hillel Fendel,

A top Hamas official has declared that his Palestinian terrorist group will continue to smuggle weapons into Gaza, despite international protests.

"It's our right to bring in everything money and arms," Mahmoud Zahar told Reuters on Tuesday. "We will not give anyone any commitment on this subject."  The promise to smuggle in war materiel comes as the AIPAC pro-Israel lobby group states that Iran is redoubling its efforts to smuggle advanced weaponry to Hamas terrorists. 

In addition, not only is Hamas continuing to fire rockets at Israeli civilian areas – over 100 have slammed into Israel over the past several weeks – but Hamas also continues efforts to expand its military capabilities. The terrorist rulers of the Gaza Strip recently fired a rocket into the Mediterranean, measuring its distance as part of a military assessment of its weapons capabilities.

Gaza, ruled by Hamas since it overthrew Fatah in 2007, borders Israeli cities and areas such as Sderot, the Negev and the southern coastal plane.

Where Does the U.S. Stand?
The U.S. does not officially recognize Hamas, but has made some gestures towards Gaza.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will officially announce next week that the Obama administration intends to provide some $900 million to help rebuild the Gaza Strip.  Clinton will be taking part in a donors’ conference in Cairo. 

The funds, which must first be approved by Congress, will not go directly to Hamas, but will rather be disbursed to non-governmental agencies and the United Nations.

Two U.S. Congressmen and a Senator have recently visited Gaza, with the former two taking an overtly anti-Israel tone.  Rep. Brian Baird (D.-Wash) even said that Israel had “apparently willfully destroyed any capacity of the Palestinians to rebuild their own infrastructure.”   

Hamas Provocations
Hamas has openly displayed its efforts to rebuild the arm-and-explosives smuggling tunnel network under the Gaza-Egypt border, even as it continues to use the tunnels that were not destroyed to bolster its arsenal.

In a Beirut rally on Jan. 25, Hamas Lebanese representative Osama Hamdan declared that Hamas will continue its violence.  “It is our right to have weapons,” he said, “and we shall continue to enter arms into Gaza and the West Bank. Let no one think that we shall surrender.”

The Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) terrorist organizations of Gaza do not even pretend to be beholden to a ceasefire.  The former said, “The resistance will continue its battle as long as occupation forces are on the land of Gaza and as long as the siege and the blockade continue,” while a PRC spokesman said, “A unilateral cease-fire is nothing to do with us... and we will continue to bear arms.”

Humanitarian Aid Provided by Israel
At the same time, since Israel’s anti-terrorism military operation in Gaza ended on Jan. 18, Israel has dramatically increased the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.  There has been an average of more than 150 trucks a day, representing a five-fold increase from December and a six-fold increase from November. 

Since Jan. 18, 112,991 tons of food and medicine entered Gaza, as have over 10 million liters of fuel.