CBNNews.com - GAZA STRIP - Efforts by the Hamas terror organization, aimed at demonizing Israel, are backfiring.
While senior Hamas officials issue frequent statements blaming Israel for the fuel crisis in the Gaza Strip, which they say has produced a humanitarian crisis, some of the group's tactics are being exposed.
In a statement issued Sunday evening, the European Union (EU) blamed Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip for at least part of the fuel shortage in the Strip.
"Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza have their share in aggravating the humanitarian situation, including carrying out attacks on the Nahal Oz and Kerem Shalom crossings. The president condemns such actions, which only lead to further suffering of the population."
But outright attacks at the border crossings are only part of the group's multi-pronged effort to create a fuel shortage for Gaza residents.
Over the weekend, Palestinian Petroleum Authority fuel trucks en route to Nahal Oz to bring fuel for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and hospitals in the Strip turned back after Hamas gunmen opened fire on them.
"Dozens of Hamas militiamen hurled stones and opened fire at the trucks," eyewitnesses reported. "The trucks were on their way to receive fuel supplied by Israel. The drivers were forced to turn back. Some of them had their windshields smashed," the sources said.
UNRWA was waiting for 250,000 liters of fuel to distribute food to 500,000 Palestinians in Gaza.
According to sources in Gaza City, not less than four times in the past few weeks, Hamas officials have confiscated trucks leaving Nahal Oz and diverted fuel shipments to their own security installations.
"Hamas is taking the fuel for the vehicles of its leaders and security forces. Because of Hamas' actions, some hospitals have been forces to stop the work of ambulances and generators," the sources said.
Even Palestinian Authority (PA) officials in Ramallah admitted that Hamas aimed to create a crisis in Gaza and blame Israel to foster an international outcry to pressure Israel.
"As far as we know, there is enough fuel reaching the Gaza Strip," the PA officials said. "But Hamas' measures are aimed at creating a crisis. Hamas is either stealing or blocking most of the fuel supplies," they said.
UNRWA workers also said that Hamas prevented the fuel trucks from delivering their supplies to Gaza.
Beyond these efforts, Hamas is pressuring members of the Gaza Petrol Station Owners Association to close their gas stations to further perpetuate the alleged fuel crisis.
According to Jerusalem Post Palestinian Affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh, Hamas operatives have issued death threats to some gas station owners, their staff and other Gaza residents trying to purchase gas for their vehicles.
Source: The Jerusalem Post