A Gaza businessman was apprehended last month because of his very expensive shoes—not because of crimes against fashion, but because he was using the shoes to smuggle 10,000 Euros (over $11,000) for Hamas terrorists. The terrorist, caught by Israel Security Authority (ISA) and other security forces according to the ISA press release on the incident, was actually one of two Gazans with commercial permits to enter Israel who were arrested for smuggling cash in their shoes. Both men were “fully aware that the money was for a terrorist organization,” according to the press release.
While the capture is good news for counterterrorism, the incident exposes the tragic reality that Hamas is seeking to use the legitimate business opportunities provided by Israel for Gazans for nefarious purposes. “The State of Israel allows, on a monthly basis, the entry of thousands of residents of the Gaza Strip for humanitarian medical and other needs. More than once, terrorist elements have exploited these permit holders for illegal purposes including the transfer of cash for terrorism,” said the press release. “This grave event underscores the abuse of Israel’s readiness to meet the humanitarian needs of the population of the Gaza Strip. The State of Israel will work to thwart this activity and deal with offenders to the fullest extent of the law.”
The cash was destined for terrorists not in Gaza, but in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). Hamas has long sought to build up their capabilities in that region, where numerous Israeli settlement communities can be targeted in vicious terror attacks.
One of the arrested smugglers had already delivered tens of thousands of Euros to Hamas. However, the smugglers became useful in Israel’s fight against Hamas after they were caught, as both had connections to the terror tunnel industry in Gaza. The investigation into one of the smugglers, whose family members are part of tunnel crews, “revealed information about the openings of tunnels that were located, for the most part, under civilian structures such as innocent residences and mosques, as well as about launching points for rockets that were located close to civilian structures.” The Israeli press release pointed out that terrorists using these locations as military sites is “endangering the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.”
The other smuggler disclosed information on “exact locations” of tunnel openings.
So while the shoe smugglers had managed to sneak cash to terrorists in Israel, the Israelis scored their own victories that just might leave Hamas terrorists on less than sure footing.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 5, 2016)