For civilians or Hamas? ‘Dual use’ issue complicates Gaza aid efforts

Hamas, the militant group that has run Gaza since 2007, triggered the war when its militants invaded Israel on Oct 7, killing 1,200 people, raping and mutilating some women and taking 240 hostages, according to Israeli authorities.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel responded by bombarding, invading and blockading Gaza, killing more than 22,000 people, according to local health officials, and causing an acute humanitarian crisis of displacement, hunger and disease.

Kobi Michael, a former adviser to the Israeli government on Palestinian affairs, said it was likely that inspections had been toughened up since the start of the war, compared with the pre-war regime which had become less strict over the years.

“What I think most concerns Israeli inspectors now is what equipment might allow Hamas to extend their time in the tunnels,” said Michael, who is now a senior researcher at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies.

“Israel wants to shorten this war, and that means shortening the time that Hamas can spend underground.”

The Egyptian Red Crescent document was given to a group of European lawmakers during a visit to the Egyptian city of Al Arish, where aid trucks are loaded, and the Rafah crossing, where they enter Gaza. Spanish lawmaker Soraya Rodriguez later provided it to Reuters.

Rodriguez and fellow lawmaker Barry Andrews, of Ireland, said they had learnt during their visit that in some cases, though not all, tent poles were being excluded by Israeli inspectors, for reasons that were not clear.

“How would this be capable of military use?” said Andrews. “It’s very difficult to understand.”


COGAT said Israel had no policy to remove tent poles and that 13,490 tonnes of shelter supplies, including tent poles, had entered Gaza during the war in 923 trucks.

In Rafah, inside Gaza, Reuters reporters saw a pile of what looked like thick canvas tents, discarded on the floor in a corner of the Kuwait Hospital. This was because they had been delivered without poles, according to Dr Suhaib al-Hams, chairman of the hospital’s board of directors.

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