“Hamas uses cement extensively for military needs,” the report states, “as part of its strategy granting priority to military upgrades over the needs of the population.”
Israel bans the entry of cement into Gaza because it can be used for manufacturing weapons and military installations, which are used against Israelis.
The Malam reports quotes Hamas diplomatic leader Syria-based Khaled Mashaal as having said outright, “The overt picture in Gaza is one of talk of conciliation… and building; but behind the scenes, the picture is that most of the money and efforts are directed towards resistance [keyword for ‘terrorism’ – ed.] and military preparations.”
He made the remarks at a gathering of Arab parties in Damascus, according to the Palestine Al’An of Nov. 12, 2009.
Hamas smuggles cement into Gaza from Egypt and also manufactures its own. However, the supply is still not enough, and Hamas therefore continues to wage international campaigns to force Israel to allow cement to enter Gaza – and to raise charity funds for cement claiming its use for residential building.
Malam reports, based on “reliable intelligence information of the past few months, including aerial photos,” there has been a notable increase in the use of cement and concrete by the Hamas military wing in Gaza. It is being used to build tunnels, fortify military compounds, and build new fortified buildings – many of them within civilian population centers. “This, as part of the Hamas strategy of using civilians as a ‘human shield,’” the report states.
Hamas is also using cement to build launching pads for Kassam rockets and mortar shells. Positions of this type are being dug in ways that will enable the projectiles to be fired with only the “push of a button,” without the need for human on-site intervention.