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Aljazeera investigation reveals UAE's role in enforcing Israeli blockade of Gaza Strip

Israeli violence has made Gaza 'uninhabitable', rights groups say [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 September, 2020

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The UAE has been helping Israel to tighten its siege on Gaza by supporting them through the Bernice military base in Egypt, according to a new investigation by Al Jazeera.
The UAE has been helping Israel blockade the besieged Gaza Strip, a new investigation from the besieged enclave has revealed. 

Speaking to Al Jazeera for a documentary, an engineer for al-Qassam, Hamas' military wing, said the UAE has supported Israel and Egypt to blockade Gaza through the Bernice military base.

The engineer, who was referred to as Abu Salman, said in the programme 'What's Hidden is Greater' that the UAE has supported Egypt and Israel in cutting off any supplies to Gaza through the southern coast of the Red Sea.

The UAE normalised relations with Israel in August after years of covert relations, mainly to deter a pro-Iran axis, which the US, Israel and allies accuse Hamas of being a part of.

Read also: Visiting from Gaza, Hamas chief makes historic trip to Lebanon's largest Palestinian camp

The program had also revealed for the first time that al-Qassam brigades had found large quantities of ammunition in the two sunken warships, as well successfully manufactured new missiles from remnants of the shells fired by Israel into Gaza in the 2014 war, which killed at least 2,014 Palestinians according to the UN. 

"We examined the British shells that we found in the depths of the sea and decided to recycle them to make our own ammunition. We conducted an experiment on a 40 cm-thick reinforced concrete roof, and the result was the complete destruction of the target", Abu Salman explained. 

Refusing Kushner’s offer

Meanwhile, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas' political bureau, revealed in the programme details of an offer made by US President Donald Trump's advisor and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. 

According to Haniyeh, Kushner asked "other parties" to convince Hamas to enter dialogue with them in any Arab or European country of their choice.

"We refused an offer from Kushner's office mediated by other parties to hold meetings for the sake of dialogue with the Zionist enemy," he said.

"We decided to refuse any dialogue that would guarantee a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip under the implementation the deal of the century," Haniyeh added.

Hanieyeh claimed that despite efforts to disarm Hamas, Israel has ultimately failed.

"Israel has failed to disarm the resistance in its siege, despite all its normalisation, putting the movement on the terrorist list and demonising it. There is now more evidence that the resistance is in a state of expansion and rise," he told Al Jazeera.

"We are not looking for a war in the Gaza Strip, but we do not fear it, and if the occupation thinks about launching a new aggression against Gaza, the battle will be different, and the factions, especially the Qassam, are in its package, which will surprise the enemy," he added.

Ongoing violence against Gaza

In 2006, Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the strip, effectively turning the coastal enclave into an open-air prison, where basic necessities such as food, fuel and medicines are severely controlled.

Israel insists its blockade is necessary to isolate Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since 2008, scarring the besieged enclave.

Critics say the blockade, along with periodic bombardment of Gaza amounts to collective punishment of the coastal enclave's 2 million residents.

In 2014, the UN, along with four other human rights organisations predicted Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020 but the situation in the besieged enclave deteriorated so much that many rights organisations deemed it uninhabitable before this decade even began.

Nearly 70% of Gaza's population is food insecure and around 80 percent of Palestinians in impoverished enclave are reliant on international aid, according to the United Nations.

In addition to damaging crops, Israel blocks food deliveries from reaching the besieged enclave, along with restricting Palestinians from fishing on their own maritime territory.

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