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Top Israeli figure says Hamas spending on tunnel system deprived Gazans of much needed aid

Oren said that civilians in Gaza are not allowed to go into the tunnels for protection, all while Hamas uses them during the war.

Published: January 17, 2024 11:00pm

Updated: January 18, 2024 11:16am

Israel's former top diplomat to the United States says Hamas victimized the Palestinian people for years by diverting money to build a massive tunnel and bunker system for war rather than spending it on needed infrastructure like schools and hospitals.

Former Ambassador Michael Oren told Just the News that Hamas has continued to hurt its own Palestinian people by not allowing civilians to use the tunnel network for safe harbor during the ongoing war.

"We now know how much money went into these tunnels and bunkers," Oren told the John Solomon Reports podcast on Wednesday. "Enough to build dozens and dozens of schools. Dozens and dozens of hospitals.......while the people of Gaza were left destitute."

According to a recent report from The New York Times, the Israeli Defense Forces discovered that the tunnel network Hamas has in Gaza is between 350 and 450 miles long. 

This is a lot longer than the original assessment which was only 250 miles. 

"Think about this," Oren said. "We're talking miles of tunnels. Some are going down seven stories. Hundreds of feet with elevators. So this is a massive military challenge and would be in any circumstances."

Oren said that civilians in Gaza are not allowed to go into the tunnels for protection, all while Hamas uses them during the war. 

"You could have fit the entire population of Gaza into these tunnels, but they don't let a single civilian in,"  he said. "Not one."

The Times of Israel reports that since the discovery of these tunnels, the IDF has been trying to destroy them.

Oren said that Gaza civilians not being let into the tunnels is just another example of Hamas using innocent people as human shields. 

"Think about that," he said. "How cynical that is. How barbaric. Because they want Israel to kill the people, the human beings behind whom they use human shields. So that Israel will be condemned as war criminals and the world would impose a ceasefire, which means Hamas wins."

An official told The Times of Israel that these tunnels could take a long time to destroy, because they have to be checked for hostages or booby traps. 

"The criticism outside of Israel is that we're using too much power," Oren said. "The criticism in Israel is that we're not using enough power and we're losing soldiers in an effort to reduce Palestinian casualties. That's very unpopular in the State of Israel."

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