Military accuses Hamas of stealing electricity from Gazans

Sharing video, Israel’s liaison to Palestinians tells the Strip’s residents that the ruling terrorist group is taking advantage of them

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians released a video on Sunday allegedly showing members of the Hamas terrorist group stealing electricity from power lines leading into the southern Gaza Strip.

In a Facebook post, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, formally known as coordinator of government activities in the territories (COGAT), reiterated his oft-heard message to the residents of Gaza that Hamas, which rules the Strip, is exploiting them and not looking out for their best interests.

The video footage, taken from military surveillance cameras, shows men connecting cables to electrical lines. According to Mordechai, the incident took place on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. near the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

The Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of the Government’s Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai. (Screenshot)

“This electricity would provide power to hospitals and schools, but Hamas does not care about the people of Gaza and oppresses them,” he wrote in Arabic.

In the Facebook post, Mordechai also says that Hamas recently stole fuel being sent into Gaza and resold it for a profit.

“How long will the Hamas terrorist movement continue to enjoy itself at Gazans’ expense?” he asked.

Mordechai and other senior Israeli officials, notably Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, have repeatedly said in statements to Gaza residents that Hamas is taking advantage of them.

Last month, Liberman said the Hamas leadership is unwilling to “divert even a shekel” to fix Gaza’s water and electricity woes, while the terror group’s leaders have electricity “24 hours a day.” Most residents have been limited to several hours of electricity a day.

Tensions have been high along the Gaza border, after four soldiers were wounded by an improvised explosive device that had been planted along the security fence.

In response to the IED attack, and to a rocket fired from Gaza that hit a home in southern Israel later that night, the IDF conducted a large series of strikes against 18 targets in the Strip, including on a tunnel in Gaza City, Liberman said at the time.

An Egyptian intelligence delegation currently in the Gaza Strip told the Palestinian enclave’s Hamas rulers that, should they seek out an escalation of violence with Israel, they would be “playing with fire,” Hebrew media reported on Saturday, citing Palestinian sources.

According to the sources, the Egyptian delegation warned Hamas that another round of violence would invite a “hard blow” by Israel against the Palestinian terror group, “so much so that there is even a possibility [Israel would] topple Hamas,” Hadashot TV news reported.

It was not clear if the warning was issued by Israel and the message was delivered through Egypt, or if Cairo itself was cautioning Hamas.

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