According to the World Bank, $1.409 billion (US) has poured into Gaza since it ceased the war it started with Israel July of 2014. But almost half, 49%, of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip remain unemployed. Where has the money gone? According to Israeli intelligence and eyewitness reports, it is all being sunk into the ground, building a tunnel system that is so complex, one witness calls it an "a Gaza city that is under the ground"
Israel's military branch, the IDF, reports that Hamast spends "hundreds of thousands of dollars each month on tunnel infrastructure. Since this requires significant manpower; Hamas employs around 1,000 operatives to dig underground around the clock.
"With the focus being on increasing weapons arsenals and expanding the Hamas underground tunnel network, only 23% of Palestinian homes lost during the campaign have been reconstructed."
Egypt has all but shut down all Hamas tunnels into the Sinai Penninsula. The purpose of those tunnels was to smuggle people, goods and weapons. What is the purpose of tunnels it is constructing today?
According to IDF spokesman, Peter Lerner, “these tunnels have one purpose: to attack Israel. Hamas is intentionally building them from within populated areas, jeopardizing the civilians in those areas.”
According to Israeli intelligence reports, each tunnel costs about $3 million (US).
And how many tunnels has Hamas constructed as foreign aid floods in?
In a recent New York Times article, 23-year-old Gazan, Akram, was quoted as saying that there is “a Gaza City under the ground, and we have nothing up here.”
Brian Schrauger is a journalist living in Israel. He is also Editor-in-Chief of The Jerusalem Journal. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSchrauger