There’s no place for Gazans to hide during Israeli strikes because there are no bomb shelters.
If you read Anne Barnard’s New York Times dispatch, you might think it’s solely because of the nasty Israeli blockade of the Strip. Construction materials, we’re told, aren’t allowed in. Hemmed in by Israeli and Egyptian border restrictions, there’s nowhere to flee.
And why dirty your hands by calling Gaza the world’s largest concentration camp when you can find a more respectable person to make this fatuous accusation for you?
Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain in 2010 called Gaza “an open-air prison,” drawing criticism from Israel. But in reality, the vast majority of Gazans are effectively trapped, unable to seek refugee status across an international border.
Nowhere in this 968-word dispatch is it mentioned that Hamas did have construction material available, or that Hamas could have used it for bomb shelters.
2.5 kilometers long, and has a ceiling high enough to accommodate a man of average height. The tunnel is also remarkably wide. Its construction required 800 tons of concrete and cost an estimated $10 million. Some 100 workers toiled on it for more than two years. It was equipped with a communications network and electricity and contained stockpiles of cookies, yoghurt and other foods to allow for stays of several months.
Barnard and her editors can’t plead ignorance. The Times picked up on this story too.
You could build quite a few bomb shelters with 800 tons of concrete by 100 workers in a two-year period.
And given Hamas’ reign of fear, how likely is it that Palestinians would tell reporters like Barnard that the reinforced terror tunnels buried well below ground might be a relatively safe and comfortable place to hide after the IDF makes the phone call or knocks on the roof?
Still, many fled only when shells began flying. Israeli officials speculate that Hamas militants have threatened people with retaliation if they leave, using them as human shields. Gazans did not mention such threats as a factor — though some said that they did not feel free to criticize Hamas.
Memo to the Gray Lady: It’s the terror tunnels, stupid.