IDF Preps for Future Gaza Conflict

Israeli Merkava tanks roll near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip as they return from the Hamas-controlled Palestinian coastal enclave on August 5, 2014, after Israel announced that all of its troops had withdrawn from Gaza.

The Times of Israel reports: The Gaza Strip and its residents are barreling towards disaster, brought on by crippling unemployment, a nonexistent economy, water and electricity shortages, a growing population and the “Islamic dictatorship” of Hamas, while the IDF is trying — and thus far succeeding — to keep the coastal enclave’s terrorist leaders deterred and contained, a senior IDF officer from the Southern Command said Sunday.

The army official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, rattled off worrying statistics from the Gaza Strip: 41.2 percent unemployment, the highest unemployment rate in the world, according to the World Bank; a per capita GDP of NIS 6,488 ($1,725), which if Gaza were a country, would put it near the lowest in the world, between Haiti ($1,750) and Burkina Faso ($1,724), according to the International Monetary Fund; an economy that is mostly made up of foreign aid and charity from international organizations; and a population of 1.9 million — and growing.

Moreover, reconstruction following the 2014 Gaza war, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge, has been slow, in part because Hamas has siphoned off a substantial portion of the reconstruction materials in order to create new attack, defense and smuggling tunnels, according to Israeli authorities.

“Hamas is not rebuilding Gaza, it’s rebuilding its military capabilities,” the officer told reporters.

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