Gazan Arabs smuggle cement (file)
Gazan Arabs smuggle cement (file)Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Despite clear evidence that Hamas is using construction materials shipped into Gaza by Israel to rebuild its network of terror attack tunnels into Israel, a Palestinian Authority (PA) official in Gaza said Israel has now allowed white cement into the Hamas stronghold.

The PA Director of Border Crossings in Gaza, Nathmi Muhanna, told the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency that Israeli authorities decided to allow white Portland cement into Gaza for the first time in several years.

Portland cement has been a banned material on the restricted import list to Gaza of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), given that it is a "dual-use item."

Although its primary use is civilian, it can also be used in military situations - such as by constructing the tunnels that were used to deadly effect against the IDF in Hamas's most recent terror war against Israel last summer.

Muhanna told the Arab paper that the Israeli liaison department notified his office that the cement is now to be allowed into Gaza. He urged Gazan merchants to contact the PA presidential committee in Gaza, which is tasked with coordinating the influx of goods to Gaza.

The reasoning for Israel's turn-around despite the documented rebuilding of terror tunnels and other means to attack Israel remains unclear.

However, possibly shedding light on the matter is that fact that the move comes right after documents were leaked on Monday, revealing talks between Hamas and Israel for a five-year ceasefire.

In exchange for the ceasefire, Hamas demanded that Israel lift transport, import, and export restrictions on Gaza. It is possible that the new leniency in terms of Portland cement could be part of such a deal.

During Operation Protective Edge the IDF destroyed over 30 terror tunnels leading into Israel, with each tunnel costing Hamas roughly $3 million to build.

In every Hamas terror tunnel, the IDF stated that there were enough building materials to build 86 homes; seven mosques; six schools; or nineteen medical clinics.