Israeli security officials have placed chocolate on the no-go list for Gazans with a sweet tooth after investigators determined that chocolate bars bound for the Gaza Strip had been part of a networking scheme to fund the Hamas group.
The offending chocolate bars were confiscated on Monday after being flagged by Tax Authority officials when the packages were coming into Israel from Egypt at the Nitzana border crossing. In total, approximately 23 tons of the “Cocoa Lovers” chocolate bars were seized.
Citing the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the Times of Israel reported that investigators had been working off of intelligence that was issued by investigators and the ministry’s National Bureau for Counterterror Financing.
The 23 tons of crispy chocolate bars are said to have been imported by the al-Mutahidun Currency Exchange and the Arab al-Sin, two Gaza-affiliated companies that function under the Shamlakh family and are deemed terror organizations by the Israeli state. The Israel Defense Forces had previously accused the Shamlakhs of having funneled millions of dollars to back the Hamas group.
“Israel will continue acting to prevent the empowerment of Hamas, who is building up military force instead of taking care of the people of the [Gaza] Strip who are collapsing from the economic burden,” Gantz said in a statement obtained by the Jerusalem Post.
“We will continue to hunt down networks that fund terror, no matter what method they choose.”
Israeli investigators are working under the belief that Hamas officials are branching out into the imports sector in order to clamp down on alternative means in which to gain new funding for operations.