The IDF’s discovery, revealed yesterday, of the largest tunnel network in Gaza made it clear just how much of Palestinians’ future Hamas has stolen. It also shows the moral imperative of freeing the land and people of Gaza from Hamas now that the opportunity to do so has presented itself.

The pictures and videos released by the IDF show the extent of the underground city. Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar’s brother is shown being driven in a car through the tunnels. “The tunnel has several branches and junctions, along with plumbing, electricity and communication lines, according to the IDF,” reports the Times of Israel, which had access to unreleased maps of the tunnel system. “In some parts of the tunnel, troops found blast doors, which the IDF said were intended to prevent Israeli troops from entering.”

The tunnel, of which the IDF has uncovered two and a half miles, ends just before the Erez crossing into Israel. And the materials used to build it, according to the IDF, “have not been seen so far in Hamas tactical tunnels.”

A few conclusions now are impossible to ignore.

First, Hamas and its ideological fellow travelers have mortgaged the potential for Palestinian self-determination and flourishing to fund their own death cult.

In 1999, President Bill Clinton was present for the grand opening of Gaza’s first international airport in half a century and the first ever under Palestinian control. For two years it served passenger flights and cargo routes. Then came the terror war of the intifada, and Israel shut down its use. Talks to reopen it continued as the 2005 Israeli disengagement from Gaza approached. The airport would be the gateway to a new Gaza, one free of Israeli occupation and thus the last roadblock to a trade- and resort-fueled economic boom.

Or so the Palestinians thought. Hatem Abu Eltayef, at the time a Khan Younis city planner, showed the Baltimore Sun his blueprints “for turning the prime piece of Mediterranean real estate left by the settlers into sites for a national park, a technical college and a home for high-tech industries” plus “a historical museum, bungalows with an ocean view and seaside sport resort where Palestinians and international tourists could windsurf, fish and sail.”

You may say he’s a dreamer, Eltayef responded to his doubters, but “Why not? If Israel withdraws from the area what is to prevent us?”

Answer: Hamas. The terror group’s takeover of the strip turned the intifada from a temporary murderous outburst into a governing strategy. We now see what resulted from the billions of dollars in aid that flowed into the strip since: the construction of a second Gaza underneath the first, this one open to the kleptocratic Iranian satraps only.

Second, Israel’s blockade of Gaza was Swiss cheese. It never stopped necessities from entering the strip and didn’t even prevent the importation and smuggling of non-essential goods. Hamas merely stopped anything and everything from reaching Palestinians. The blockade wasn’t useless, however: It slowed Hamas’s ability to construct a region-destroying terror infrastructure. The tunnel system revealed yesterday was clearly meant for a vehicle-dependent invasion resembling the Oct. 7 massacre. The only thing lifting the blockade would have accomplished is to enable more death and destruction in the same time frame.

Finally, the tunnels unquestionably vindicate the extent of the Israeli invasion post-Oct. 7. Any significant part of the tunnel network left operational increases the chances of all this happening again—the resource diversion, the war.

It needs to be destroyed or otherwise neutralized, and Gaza’s terrorists must know and so must the public. Israel has the opportunity now to close the book on Hamas’s generational theft of the Gaza Strip. Perhaps Hatem Abu Eltayef’s descendants will one day see the Gaza of their dreams, possible only once Hamas is out of their way.

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