Gazans have little food — but their army is well-equipped

On the one hand, according to UNWRA, Gazans are being strangled by an Israeli ‘blockade’:

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The head of the U.N. agency responsible for aiding Palestinian refugees said Wednesday that Israel’s near economic blockade of the Gaza Strip is fueling support for extremists and shattering hopes for a peaceful future.

“They’re trying to punish those who’ve taken control of Gaza but in fact they’re punishing everybody inside Gaza, a very small percentage of whom support the people who are controlling Gaza right now,” Karen Koning AbuZayd of the United Nations Works and Relief Agency said…

At a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York, AbuZayd painted a grim picture of life in the Gaza Strip, saying there has been a 71 percent decrease in goods going into Gaza since May, there is “zero stock” of 91 drugs compared to 61 last month, and farmers do not have the money to get their crops picked or send them to market so they are rotting.

That means that there are no fruits and vegetables to supplement the basic rations that 80 percent of Gaza’s population receive — flour, oil, sugar, a bit of lentils and powdered milk — either from UNRWA or the U.N. World Food Program, she said.

But on the other hand,

Hamas is smuggling as much as $20 million into the Gaza Strip each month, a U.S. lawmaker said.

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, said in a Ha’aretz interview published Tuesday that monthly cash smuggling across the Gaza-Egypt border “provides somewhere between $12 million and $20 million to the economy of a rogue government that staged a coup against the wishes of the Palestinian people.” — JTA

Recently, Yuval Diskin, head of the Israeli internal security service (Shabak), said that since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, Palestinians have smuggled 112 tons of explosives across (well, actually under) the Egyptian border.

Israel is continuing to supply electricity to Gaza, as the Israeli supreme court has at least temporarily blocked a plan to reduce the amount of power being transmitted. This electricity is, for example, powering the welders used to attach fins onto the Qassam rockets that are a major product of Palestinian industry.

Meanwhile, Hamas continues to find money to fund the war it is fighting against Israel:

Reserve-duty paratroopers who completed a month of duty in the Gaza Strip last week say that facing militant groups such as Hamas was like taking part in a “mini-war.”

During the patrol company’s operations deep in Palestinian territory, four Hamas militants and one Israel Defense Forces soldier, Sergeant-Major (Res.) Ehud Efrati, were killed. “The people we killed weren’t terrorists, they were soldiers,” an officer in the company told Haaretz.

“In a direct confrontation, the IDF has superiority over them, but in all parameters – training, equipment quality, operational discipline – we are facing an army, not gangs,” he said…

On the bodies of the Hamas fighters the reservists found, in addition to their weapons, night-vision equipment identical to the IDF’s. And it was not from Israel. “It’s available on the Internet, you can order it from eBay and have it sent to an Arab country and then smuggle it to Gaza,” the intelligence officer said. — Ha’aretz

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