Monday, April 13, 2015

13-Apr-15: The carnage resulting from Gaza's Hamas tunnels may now be sharply reduced

Children working on a Gaza tunnel construction site, from a National
Geographic report
published in July 2014
As far as we can tell from Googling, no mainstream Western news source is reporting on the dramatic moves the Egyptians have just taken - a no-holds-barred assault on the Hamas-inspired Gaza attack-tunnels phenomenon. Not surprisingly, several Israeli sources are reporting on it. Here's one.

Egypt to sentence Gaza smugglers to life in prison | The Times of Israel April 13, 2015
A new amendment to Egypt’s penal code would sentence offenders convicted of digging and using cross-border tunnels connecting the country to the Gaza Strip to terms of up to life in prison, the Egyptian news agency MENA reported Sunday. The amendment, one of several passed by presidential decree, seeks to curtail the problem of tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, which have been used to smuggle contraband crucial for the Hamas rule in the Palestinian territory, as well as weapons and terror activists. Under the new amendment, the Egyptian government has the authority to confiscate buildings above the tunnels or any equipment used in their construction. Anyone with knowledge of cross-border tunnels who does not report them could be liable to the same life term as those who build and use them.
The victims of the tunnels industry are not only Israeli military personnel and civilians. Nor are they only Egyptian security people fighting the terrorist groups that have been active for years in the Sinai. In fact, the price paid by Palestinian children is one that has so far largely been kept under wraps.

A July 2014 Tablet Magazine report ["Hamas Killed 160 Palestinian Children to Build Tunnels"] describes the ruthless abuse by the Islamist ideologues of Hamas in exploiting child slave-laborers. Demonstrating the lethal hypocrisy of Iran's local Hamas surrogates in the Gaza Strip, those children were all Palestinian Arabs:
The Institute for Palestine Studies published a detailed report [here] on Gaza’s Tunnel Phenomenon in the summer of 2012. It reported that tunnel construction in Gaza has resulted in a large number of child deaths. The author, Nicolas Pelham, explains that Hamas uses child laborers to build their terror tunnels because, "much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies". Human rights groups operating in Gaza raised concerns about child labor in the tunnels as far back as 2008. Hamas responded by saying it was “considering curbs." ...Nor does it seem that Hamas paid much subsequent attention to ensuring the safety of the child workers that it used to build the tunnels that would wind up endangering the lives of many in Gaza. On a tour of the tunnels in 2011, Pelham noted that, “nothing was done to impede the use of children in the tunnels.”
Now something does appear finally to have been done - not (of course) by the jihadists of Gaza but by the Egyptians on the other side of the border.

It's safe to assume that many lives that would otherwise be needlessly endangered, at least in those Gaza tunnels that run to and from Egypt and the Sinai, will be preserved as a result.

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