Palestinian journalist Mirvat Oaf has noted that smuggling tunnels along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt have long been playing a major role in flooding the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave with various types of illegal drugs. Pictured: A Palestinian boy in the Gaza Strip, working as a tunnel-digger, is lowered into a smuggling tunnel that is being dug under the border with Egypt, on April 22, 2009. (Photo by Ahmad Khateib/Getty Images)
The Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip has long been serving as a center for various terrorist groups that are responsible for thousands of terror attacks against Israel. In the past few decades, these groups have engaged in smuggling various types of weapons from Egypt into the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian terrorists also appear to be smuggling various types of illegal drugs into the Gaza Strip. Alarmed by the increased smuggling of illegal drugs, Hamas has begun waging a campaign against the drug-traffickers.
Earlier this year, Hamas announced that its security forces seized a large shipment of hashish smuggled from Egypt into the town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
Later, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Interior launched a hotline for anonymous feedback and tip-offs on drug-related crimes.
The crackdown came in the aftermath of charges that the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip were not serious about dealing with the problem of drug trafficking.
According to some reports, many of the drug dealers caught by Hamas often buy their way out of prison by paying large amounts of bail in cash to Hamas-controlled courts. Some of the drug traffickers and dealers, who are known for their affiliation with Hamas, avoid prosecution: in addition to the illegal drugs, they also smuggle weapons for Palestinian terrorist groups.
Palestinian journalist Mirvat Oaf noted that the smuggling tunnels along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt have long been playing a major role in flooding the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave with various types of illegal drugs.
According to unofficial statistics, she said, the number of drug addicts in the Gaza Strip is estimated at more than 100,000. "This is a very high number for the Gaza Strip, which has a population of two million," she added. "Three years ago, the number of drug addicts in the Gaza Strip was estimated at 200,000. These figures have shocked Palestinians."
Instead of acknowledging their responsibility for failing to combat the drug trafficking, the leaders of Hamas have been trying to blame everyone but themselves.
These leaders are trying hard to convince Palestinians that Israel and Hamas's rivals in the Palestinian Fatah faction, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, are responsible for flooding the Gaza Strip with illegal drugs.
This accusation is part of an old blood libel frequently used by Palestinians in the context of their continued incitement against Israel. The accusation is based on the fabricated claim that Israel wants to "corrupt" young Palestinians by providing them with illegal and lethal drugs.
In 2009, a Hamas spokesperson claimed that Israel was sending Viagra pills (used to treat erectile dysfunction or impotence in men) and illegal drugs to the Gaza Strip.
The Hamas-affiliated Al-Majd website has also repeatedly accused the "Zionist intelligence and its agents" of flooding the Palestinian territories with illegal drugs.
Hamas's rivals in the Palestinian Authority have also been involved in the dissemination of this blood libel against Israel. In 2014, Adnan Damiri, spokesperson for the West Bank-based Palestinian security forces, was quoted as saying that Israel "has spit up and vomited a shocking amount of drugs onto our land."
The Palestinians' attempt to establish a connection between Israel and illegal drugs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is no less dangerous than their terrorist attacks against Israel. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas are sending the following message to their people: The Jews are conspiring to destroy Palestinians by delivering illegal drugs to our communities. Therefore, we need to fight these Jews to prevent them from achieving their goal.
The Palestinians have never provided a shred of evidence to corroborate this false accusation against Israel. Why should they allow the truth to get in the way of a good story? Palestinian leaders are experts when it comes to blaming Israel and Jews, instead of the real sources, for all the miseries of their people.
False accusations are also being echoed by Palestinian clerics, who are known for their overheated incitement against Israel and Jews. In 2017, for instance, the Palestinian cleric Imad Hamatu said during a Friday prayer sermon aired on the official Palestinian Authority TV channel that "Jews spread corruption, prostitution, and drugs in the Arab world."
In his address, Hamatu claimed that the Jews, whom he called "the slayers of prophets and of the innocent," instigated unrest in the Arab world and spread corruption, prostitution, and sex. He further alleged that US intelligence had a "Unit for Controlling the World's Mood," which channels Tramadol and other pills through Israel to Gaza, Jordan and the Levant. "They [control] what you and your children think," he added.
A year later, another Palestinian cleric, Osama al-Tibi, quoting a well-known hadith -- the sayings and acts of the Prophet Mohammed -- announced that the conflict between the Jews and Muslims will continue until Judgement Day, when the Jews will hide behind the rocks and the trees, which will call to the Muslims to kill the Jews.
"The Jews bare their fangs whenever they get the chance. They spread corruption in the land, and they sow discord among the servants of Allah. They behave tyrannically in Allah's land, they hatch conspiracies, and they scheme. They pursue nothing but their own interests...
"Another one of their vile traits is that they are violators of agreements and accords. [The Quran says:] 'Why is it that every time they make a covenant, a group from among them casts it aside?' Allah cursed them because they violated their covenant, and '[He] turned them into apes, pigs, and worshippers of false deities.'"
Recently, the issue of illegal drugs in the Gaza Strip took a new turn when it became clear that the Palestinian terrorists and drug dealers were exploiting innocent women.
The revelation was made during a seminar held by human rights and women's organizations in the Gaza Strip. Speakers at the seminar said that several Palestinian women who travelled to Egypt for medical treatment were arrested by the Egyptian authorities for possession of illegal drugs. "The women were deceived and used by drug dealers in the Gaza Strip," the speakers charged.
One woman said that her mother was deceived by a drug dealer after he persuaded her to carry shampoo and creams for his relatives in Egypt. She said that her mother was now being held in harsh conditions in an Egyptian prison for possession of illegal drugs.
Hassan al-Swairki, an official with the Gaza-based "Anti-Narcotics Agency," disclosed that at least 14 Palestinian women have fallen victim to the drug traffickers and were being held in Egyptian prison for smuggling illegal drugs into Egypt.
In keeping with the Palestinians' blood libel, it is only a matter of time before they find a way to blame Israel and Jews for the cynical exploitation of innocent women seeking medical treatment in Egypt. These women were hoping to receive medical treatment (in an Arab country) that is denied them by their Hamas rulers in the Gaza Strip, but ended up in prison because they were duped by criminals and terrorists involved in the business of smuggling weapons and illegal drugs.
Under the current circumstances, however, it is unlikely that Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will assume any responsibility for the widespread use and smuggling of illegal drugs into their territories.
They are also unlikely to denounce the criminals and terrorists who planted the narcotics in the shampoo and cream bottles of ill women before they traveled for medical treatment in Egypt. Instead, Palestinian leaders will continue to incite their people against Israel and Jews, spreading blood libels of every sort at every turn. In that way, Palestinians will continue to hunt down Jews -- whether they are behind trees and rocks or in plain sight.
Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East.