On Wednesday, the Israeli Defence Ministry announced it had set up a new chemical testing laboratory at Kerem Shalom, a border crossing into Gaza. They reported that the new facility had recently seized a truck containing bomb-making materials on route to the Palestinian territory, which had claimed to be carrying motor oil.
The lab is operated by the Border Crossing Authority, Israel’s police, and the Shin Bet security service. The Ministry said in a statement: “One of the main goals of the lab is to locate problematic substances that it is prohibited to bring into Gaza, for fear they will reach terror entities”. “The lab’s operational ability to identify the type of substance within a short period of time, from the moment of sampling, will enable an improvement of the service and reduce as much as possible delays in the transfer of goods to Gaza”.
The head of the Border Crossing Authority, Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon said that “establishing the chemical laboratory greatly broadens the ‘toolbox’ that is in the hands of security officials in the daily unrelenting campaign against smuggling into Gaza”.
Israel is actively working to support reconstruction efforts in the Gaza Strip following Operation Protective Edge (2014), and has significantly eased restrictions on the movement of goods and people in and out of the Gaza Strip since the conflict.
Israel has taken the measures to support reconstruction efforts despite the security risks posed – in the past Hamas has misappropriated massive amounts of aid and imported goods for use in its terrorist infrastructure. Israel has facilitated the passage of over 10 million tonnes of construction materials into Gaza since Operation Protective Edge.