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Hamas Leader Threatens to ‘Stop the Breathing of 6 Million Israelis’ If Gaza Doesn’t Get Ventilators

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April 2, 2020
Palestinian Hamas militants are seen during a military show in the Bani Suheila district on July 20, 2017 in Gaza City, Gaza. For the past ten years Gaza residents have lived with constant power shortages, in recent years these cuts have worsened, with supply of regular power limited to four hours a day. On June 11, 2017 Israel announced a new round of cuts at the request of the Palestinian authorities and the decision was seen as an attempt by President Mahmoud Abbas to pressure Gaza’s Hamas leadership. Prior to the new cuts Gaza received 150 megawatts per day, far below it’s requirements of 450 megawatts. In April, Gaza’s sole power station which supplied 60 megawatts shut down, after running out of fuel, the three lines from Egypt, which provided 27 megawatts are rarely operational, leaving Gaza reliant on the 125 megawatts supplied by Israel’s power plant. The new cuts now restrict electricity to three hours a day severely effecting hospital patients with chronic conditions and babies on life support. During blackout hours residents use private generators, solar panels and battery operated light sources to live. June 2017 also marked ten years since Israel began a land, sea and air blockade over Gaza. Under the blockade, movement of people and goods is restricted and exports and imports of raw materials have been banned. The restrictions have virtually cut off access for Gaza’s two million residents to the outside world and unemployment rates have skyrocketed forcing many people into poverty and leaving approximately 80% of the population dependent on humanitarian aid. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar threatened to kill millions of Israelis if the Gaza Strip doesn’t receive ventilators to combat the coronavirus.

The Times of Israel reported Sinwar alleged the Israeli government is blocking medical aid from entering Gaza. “If ventilators are not brought into [Gaza], we’ll take them by force from Israel and stop the breathing of 6 million Israelis,” he said.

There are more than 9 million people in Israel; approximately 6.7 million of them are Jewish, according to Jewish Virtual Library (JVL).

Sinwar also said Hamas might be willing to engage in a prisoner swap with Israel, saying the terror group is hoping for Israel to release elderly “prisoners as a humanitarian gesture in light of the corona crisis,” according to Ynet News. TOI noted Hamas has held the bodies of Israeli soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who Hamas kidnapped and killed in 2014.

Pro-Israel activist Arsen Ostrovsky tweeted, “Why doesn’t [Sinwar] just quarantine himself in one of those tunnels?”

Israel does have a blockade against Gaza; however, the Israeli government provides humanitarian aid in the form of food and medicine to Gaza, per JVL. The Jerusalem Post reported on March 21 that the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) delivered “hundreds of coronavirus testing kits, and 1,000 protective medical gear kits” to Gaza.

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