On Friday morning, Hebrew news service, Walla, reported that Egypt had opened up the crossing between Egypt and Gaza to pedestrians and trucks, including those carrying shipments of cement. Last month, Israel dramatically reduced the amount of building materials permitted to enter into Gaza via its borders after it was discovered that private building companies were transferring materials to the military arm of Hamas.
Much of the material being redirected to build up the terror infrastructure is humanitarian aid intended to rebuild the hundreds of Gazan homes destroyed in the 2014 conflict. In a statement last month, Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) accused Imad al-Baz, deputy director of Gaza’s Economy Ministry, of seizing construction materials, and said the import of cement into the Gaza Strip had been suspended “until further notice.”
“This is a clear example of how Hamas continues to abuse and harm Gaza’s civil population to advance their own personal agenda,” the statement read.
Egypt was also threatened by a plethora of terror tunnels but established a buffer zone two kilometers wide along the Philadelphia line, which it flooded with seawater, effectively collapsing an estimated 90% of the tunnels.
A source in the Israeli defense establishment explained to Walla that the decision by Egypt to allow the transfer of cement came as a result of a meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi three days ago. It is unclear what interest Abbas and the PA have in building up Hamas-ruled Gaza.