The decision by the so-called Security Cabinet also included measures to
prevent the flow of weapons to the Gaza Strip. The Cabinet panel concluded
what the statement termed "extensive discussion" over two days.
Officials acknowledged that the heads of the intelligence communities
warned that Hamas would use cement and other construction material for its
war infrastructure. They said a key Hamas goal was to complete its
port in Gaza City, which could result in the steady shipment of ballistic
The Cabinet decision was released three days after the Israeli
intelligence community asserted that Hamas was seeking to rebuild its
military infrastructure destroyed in the war in January 2009. The
state-sponsored Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center assessed that
Hamas would seize cement imports meant for civilian construction.
"The cement shortage in the Gaza Strip makes it difficult to carry out
rehabilitation works and improve the living conditions of the population,"
the report said. "However, reliable intelligence indicates that Hamas uses
cement for military needs as part of its overall strategy of giving priority
to its military infrastructure over the needs of Gaza Strip residents."
The report said Hamas required cement for military compounds, tunnels,
weapons storage facilities and rocket launch sites. Hamas was said to have
smuggled cement and produced its own concrete.
"We believe that delivering significant quantities of cement to the Gaza
Strip will, indeed, help the population," the report said. "At the same
time, Hamas will attempt to divert meaningful quantities of it to military
needs, taking advantage of its control over the Gaza Strip and the inability
of local civilian population to influence the priorities of the Hamas de
The intelligence community has determined that Hamas's military has
increased consumption of cement and concrete to build sites destroyed in the
23-day war with Israel nearly 18 months ago. The report said Hamas was
building military facilities in urban areas in an effort to create a
"Hamas places considerable significance on its underground
infrastructure, used for both defensive and offensive needs — such as
minimizing the exposure of terrorist operatives and munitions,
transporting operatives between areas, and carrying out attacks by digging
tunnels from the Gaza Strip to Israeli territory," the report said.