IDF: Keep aid money to Gaza out of Hamas hands

Following latest round of fighting, IDF chief Kochavi advises government to funnel humanitarian funds through Palestinian Authority to prevent Gaza’s terror groups from using it to rebuild military capabilities

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said that rather than allowing foreign aid to be funneled directly through Hamas, funds should instead be transferred via the Palestinian Authority, which will then disburse it to Gaza’s civilians.

According to the military, such a move was necessary to prevent Hamas from using aid funds to expand its military capabilities — acquiring rockets, unmanned aerial vehicles, constructing subterranean tactical tunnels and training naval commandos — with money intended for the seaside enclave’s residents as the group has done before.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has, thus far, allowed the money to pass through Hamas purportedly to weaken the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority, Israel’s long-standing negotiating partner that is headed by Hamas’ rival, Fatah.

Netanyahu, reportedly, told members of his Likud party earlier this year that support for Hamas was necessary to foil efforts to establish a Palestinian state.

According to IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Hadai Zilberman, the government also dismissed Kochavi’s recommendation to take “aggressive action” against Hamas that he made some two weeks before the fighting broke out on May 10.

Kochavi made the recommendation after Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Yahyah Sinwar, began pushing for a more aggressive approach against Israel after he came close to losing an internal leadership election.

Meanwhile, Hamas resumed sporadic rocket fire and arson attacks on southern Israel, the latter using explosive devices sent from Gaza via balloons.

Following the ceasefire, the IDF chief advised the government to deliver an overwhelming military response to every attack on Israeli soil, be it rocket fire or airborne explosive devices.

Kochavi also instructed the General Staff to prepare for another round of fighting against Hamas, which could potentially begin in the near future. Hamas has already announced that any attempt on the life of any members of its leadership would be met with rocket fire.

More than 4,000 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza during the 11 days of fighting, the vast majority of which were intercepted by the IDF’s Iron Dome missile defense system or landed in open areas. Some rockets did, however, strike population centers, causing extensive property damage and 12 deaths.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in the Strip reported that 248 people had died in the IDF’s repeated strikes on what Israel called terrorist targets.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who himself served as the IDF chief of staff during the 2014 Gaza war, said Friday that he would not allow the intensive rocket fire on Jerusalem and central Israel to happen again.

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