Israel Nets Hamas Weapons Smuggler
The plight of Gaza fishermen has been in the news for a while, with much made of Israel’s restrictions on them. For instance, this Al Jazeera report from October.
And this from Ma’an News last week:
As part of Israel’s blockade off the coastal enclave since 2007, Palestinian fishermen have been required to work within a limited “designated fishing zone.”
The exact limits of the zone are decided by the Israeli authorities and have historically fluctuated, most recently extended to six nautical miles from three, following a ceasefire agreement that ended Israel’s 2014 offensive on the Palestinian territory.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights has reported that Israeli naval forces often open fire on fishermen within these limits, putting their lives in danger on a near-daily basis.
Israeli forces also regularly detain Palestinian fisherman off the coast of Gaza working within the fishing zone, generally for alleged security reasons.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Israeli forces detained 71 fishermen and confiscated 22 fishing boats throughout 2015.
The center said that Israeli naval forces also opened fire on Palestinian fishermen at least 139 times over the course of the year, wounding 24 and damaging 16 fishing boats.
“These attacks occurred in a time where the fishers did not pose any threat to the Israeli naval troops, as they were doing their job to secure a living,” PCHR said.
While I feel for any Gazans just trying to live a peaceful life and earn a livelihood, one must always understand the full situation. And this next report gives much-needed perspective on the need to impose restrictions on Gazan fishermen.
Among other things, the indictment against Mahmoud ibn Said al-Saidi noted that he carried out smuggling operations on behalf of Hamas from Egypt, delivering to the terror organization diving equipment and cigarettes.
The smuggling was thwarted only when the suspect attempted to deliver weapons to Hamas after he was caught by the Egyptian military.
According to the indictment, in 2013 activists from the Hamas military brigade of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam approached al-Saidi seeking his assistance in acquiring military and diving equipment using a boat he received from Hamas.
Al-Saidi was asked to smuggle 50 diving suits, 50 flippers, 20 sets of binoculars and 6 oxygen balloons in return of $1,000.
When he arrived on the Egyptian side of the Gaza border, he met five masked individuals who informed him that his equipment exceeded the permitted weight and was therefore only able to deliver half of the diving equipment. Two days later he repeated the same journey to complete the mission.
In addition, al-Saidi was requested to smuggle electrodes for welding in return for $300 but, in the end, only succeeded in smuggling cartons of cigarettes and tobacco in return for a payment of $400.
He later attempted to smuggle a number of weapons amounting to 200kg, according to the indictment, for $1,200. During the operation however, he was spotted near Egypt by the country’s army, prompting its soldiers to fire upon him, injuring one of his accomplices in the process.
The indictment also lists al-Saidi’s criminal activities which included establishment of contact with foreign agents, conspiracy to commit crime and providing services and resources to terror organizations.
Don’t fall for the anti-Israel narrative hook, line and sinker.