Hamas fighters can travel underground throughout the entirety of the Gaza Strip using the terror group’s tunnel network, according to a Hamas operative who was captured last month after he crossed illegally into Israel from Gaza. According to the Shin Bet, “Hamas has dug an extensive network for moving fighters around the Strip exclusively underground” including “rest quarters for use by elite units in time of emergency.” The revelation follows the IDF’s discovery in May and April of two Hamas tunnels that crossed into Israeli territory. According to the Israeli government, the tunnels were uncovered with the aid of new tunnel-detection technology. Another Hamas operative, whose capture was announced last month and who sneaked into Israel on a mission to murder Israelis, also revealed information including how Hamas digs tunnels from private homes and institutions in Gaza.
In 2014, during Operation Protective Edge (OPE), which was launched in response to Hamas’ continued rocket fire, the IDF discovered and destroyed at least 34 tunnels in Gaza. During OPE, Hamas surprised Israel and killed several Israeli soldiers through its use of cross-border tunnels, including five soldiers in Israeli territory in Kibbutz Nahal Oz. The IDF explained that Hamas intends to use the tunnels “to carry out attacks such as abductions of Israeli civilians and soldiers alike; infiltrations into Israeli communities, mass murders and hostage-taking scenarios.”
Furthermore, Palestinians in Gaza have expressed anxiety that Hamas tunnels built in or near civilian areas are putting them and their families at risk of being targeted by Israeli strikes. They have anonymously voiced criticism of Hamas, with one 42-year-old mother stating, “I am sure, one million percent, that those with tunnels under their houses cannot sleep, or taste the joy of life.” According to the UN, only 23% of Palestinian homes that were destroyed during the war have been reconstructed. Israel has accused Hamas of confiscating 95% of the cement entering Gaza, diverting it from civilian reconstruction and using it to build its tunnels instead. Since OPE, the Gaza-based terror group has invested heavily in expanding and building its network of terror tunnels. Hamas reportedly spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each month and employs more than 1,000 operatives “working 24 hours a day, six days a week” building tunnels. A 23-year-old Gazan who lives in a mobile home and was interviewed by The New York Times stated, “We have a Gaza City under the ground, and we have nothing up here.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York signed an executive order on Sunday barring the state from contracting entities that boycott Israel.“If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you,” said Cuomo, who described the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign as an “economic attack” against Israel. “This state will not stand for the politics of discrimination in any form, and we will continue to demonstrate our unwavering support for the people of Israel in the fight for freedom, liberty and democracy,” he added.The governor announced the order at the Harvard Club in Manhattan prior to leading the Israel Day Parade, which was attended by some 30,000 people despite unfavorable weather conditions.
The executive order directs that a list of companies and entities that boycott Israel be compiled using credible, publicly available information, and requires all executive-branch state agencies to divest from them. Entities on the list will have the right to appeal.
Anti-BDS legislation has already been introduced in both houses of the New York legislature. The State Senate passed anti-BDS legislation in January.
Following passage of the Illinois bill last year, legal expert Eugene Kontorovich said that the measure reflected a belief that “the BDS is not like the civil rights protests, as its supporters love to claim, but rather more like the anti-Jewish boycotts so common in Europe in the 20th century, and in the Arab world until this day.”
Foreign investment in Israel has nearly tripled since the BDS campaign was formally launched by Palestinian groups in 2005, hitting a record high of $285.12 billion last year.
Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, outlined at a congressional hearing in April how members of a network that used to fund Hamas have become the driving force behind the BDS campaign in the United States through the group American Muslims for Palestine.
The BDS campaign attempts to delegitimize and isolate Israel in an effort to advance Palestinian interests, and many of its leaders have publicly affirmed that they seek Israel’s destruction. BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti, an opponent of the two-state solution, said in 2014 that Palestinians have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance,” while leading activist As’ad Abu Khalil acknowledged in 2012 that “the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel.”
Alabama became the latest state to pass legislation combating boycotts of Israel last month, following Illinois, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, and Florida. Advocates emphasized that such legislation does not raise any First Amendment issues because private parties are still free to boycott Israel, but states may be obligated to avoid promoting or supporting boycotts based on religion, race, or nationality. (via TheTower.org)