Israel warned it may be forced to block entry to Gaza residents seeking medical care or business opportunities if Hamas continues to recruit them for terror missions.
Ongoing attempts by Hamas to recruit Gaza residents crossing the border into Israel may result in preventing entry to Palestinians from the Strip completely, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.
In an interview with the Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper, quoted by the Post, IDF Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, warned of the consequences if Hamas continues to exploit Gaza residents who hold entry permits into Israel – including, for example, cancer patients – by using them for terror missions.
The terror organization’s “cynical exploitation of Israeli entry permits is forcing Israel to think twice before it issues permits to Gazans. This situation will eventually lead to the closure of the [Hamas-ruled Gaza] Strip and the complete cessation of travel,” Mordechai warned, according to the Post.
“It appears as if Hamas is preparing itself for a military clash and is not interested in serving the public in Gaza. Hamas is trying to recruit merchants, and this sabotages Israel’s economic plan [to improve life for residents of Hamas-run Gaza] and the passage of Gazans for prayer [at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem] in Israel,” Mordechai said.
Since the end of Operation Protective Edge at the end of the summer of 2014, Hamas has been using money earmarked for the rehabilitation of Gaza for its military program, including terror tunnels for kidnapping and murdering Israeli civilians.
Since the August 2014 ceasefire went into effect, the Post noted, Israel has issued more than 100,000 entry permits for Gazans to enter Israel for medical care, trade and religious reasons via the Erez Border Crossing. An average of 400-500 trucks pass through the Kerem Shalom Crossing on a daily basis, carrying tens of thousands of tons worth of goods.