October 26, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Points to Hamas’s Hoarding of Gaza Fuel

October 26, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Points to Hamas’s Hoarding of Gaza Fuel

Latest Developments

Israeli officials are pushing back against calls to admit fuel into the Gaza Strip, noting the Hamas stockpiles that should be going to Palestinian civilians. With the Gaza war now in its third week, Israel has faced pressure to end its embargo on fuel imports from relief agencies, which say their operations in the territory cannot be sustained otherwise.

But COGAT, Israel’s office for liaising with the Palestinians, has published aerial photographs of a depot containing more than 130,000 gallons of fuel that Hamas has hoarded. “It’s all inside the Gaza Strip and there’s enough for many days, for hospitals and water pumps to run, only the priorities are different. Hamas prefers to have all of the fuel for its warfighting capabilities, leaving civilians without it,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), in a briefing on October 26.

International organizations, he said, should be demanding answers of Hamas, rather than of Israel or neighboring Egypt. Humanitarian aid other than fuel has been reaching Palestinian civilians through the Egyptian border.

Expert Analysis

“By focusing on Hamas-stockpiled fuel’s specific role in sustaining the terrorist tunnels, whose electricity generators ensure communication, illumination, and the circulation of oxygen, Israel is signaling both intimate technical knowledge and desire to seek out non-kinetic options for shutting down this subterranean terrorist threat. Those who condemn the prospect of an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza should be the first to welcome such out-of-the-box thinking.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The fuel issue is a touchstone for the integrity of non-governmental organizations in Gaza. Will they continue with the shell game where they demand that Israel provide Palestinians with fuel with full knowledge that much of it will power Hamas terrorism against Israel? Or will they drop the pretense and publicly acknowledge that Hamas has cynically hijacked this crucial asset and therefore bears for responsibility for a crisis that it could resolve in short order?” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Fuel Linked to Tunnels in Gaza

An Israeli official linked Hamas fuel specifically to the Palestinian terrorist group’s warren of underground bunkers and tunnels, which the IDF has been trying to hit from the air ahead of sending in troops and tanks to tackle the threat directly. Hamas is using the fuel “for tunnel ventilators under hospitals—and not for hospital ventilators,” Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy said on X. “The international community must hold the de facto governing authorities in Gaza to account for this travesty.”

On October 24, Israel’s Walla news site reported that within days, Hamas could run out of fuel needed for its tunnels to function and that this could force its fighters to emerge into Israel’s gunsights.

Israel Launches Tank Raid Into Gaza to Target Terrorist Sites,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Fighters Trained with Iranian Forces Before Israel Attack,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Declares Global War on Hamas,” FDD Flash Brief

The Real Gaza Hospital Crisis,” by Jonathan Schanzer


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