Eitan Dangot idf 248 88 aj.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The aim of the Mavi Marmara, which led a flotilla of seven ships to break
Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip, was not to help the Palestinian
civilian population but to shore up the Hamas regime, Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot,
the coordinator of activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, told the Turkel
Commission on Tuesday.
“Gaza was not facing a humanitarian crisis but a
monetary crisis,” after Egypt closed the Rafah border crossing and choked off
the supply of cash to the Hamas government, he told the commission. “If there
was any reason for the flotilla, it was only to give legitimacy to Hamas and for
no other reason because there was no [other] crisis in Gaza which necessitated
it.” Dangot explained that the Hamas regime needed the money to pay the salaries
of its employees. The Mavi Marmara, he continued, was not carrying humanitarian
goods, but was carrying a large amount of money.
According to Dangot,
Israel had originally planned to continue its policy of allowing goods into the
Gaza Strip according to the agreements reached with the Palestinian Authority
after the disengagement from Gaza in September 2005, even after Hamas won the
Palestinian Authority elections in 2006.
He said Hamas was responsible
for the fact that Israel eventually changed its policy. For example, Hamas
attacks on the border crossings where goods entered the Gaza Strip forced Israel
to close them down and move them to safer locations.
The most outstanding
example was the Karni border crossing where most of the truck traffic was
concentrated. In its heyday, 400 trucks entered Gaza each day, while 200 trucks
carrying Gaza exports entered Israel on their way to Ashdod port. However, Karni
has been closed after terror attacks and Kerem Shalom has become the main
The Canadian observer to the commission, Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Ken
Watkin, asked Dangot three times to tell him whether there was or had been
starvation in Gaza and, if not, why so many international humanitarian
organizations maintained that there was a crisis. He was apparently not
satisfied by Dangot’s answers. But after Watkin asked the question for the third
time, Dangot lost some of his diplomatic veneer.
“The one who is
responsible for all this is the Hamas,” he told Watkin. “They have caused
inestimable damage. There have been night attacks [against Israel] for years.
All of this because of a terrorist organization which set its aim to kill
Israelis while refusing to recognize the State of Israel.”
Watkin quoted from a report by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) which stated that 75 percent of the civilian
population in Gaza suffered from “food insecurity” after Operation Cast Lead.
Dangot replied that OCHA never asked for an Israeli response to its reports and
that, furthermore, “The population of Gaza is absolutely not starving. There is
no starvation in Gaza and there never has been.”
Despite the Hamas
attacks, Israel had consistently maintained the level of goods it
Gaza, Dangot said.
Recently, the Palestinians have asked for less fuel
than the amount allowed by Israel, not because of Israeli sanctions but
Hamas had failed to pay debts to the PA and so the PA ordered less fuel
Gaza. Dangot complained that no one publicized this development, as the
media had when the Hamas government claimed Israel was responsible for
of fuel, and therefore, the lack of electricity, in the Gaza Strip.