Palestinian rioters drag burning tires toward Israel's border. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90) (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Gaza riots

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Hamas-led violence has caused another shortage in Gazan – no tires for civilians, only for rioters.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff

Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to cope with shortages of just about everything in more than a decade of Hamas’ rule — from medicines to fuel and building supplies. Now, seven months of violent Hamas- led riots on Israel’s border have added another item to that list: car tires.

Tires are a favored item by rioters during the weekly protests — they are set on fire, tossed toward Israeli troops across the border. A byproduct of this phenomenon is heavy air pollution.

In response, Israel has halted tire imports into the Strip, sending prices skyrocketing and forcing Gaza motorists to find creative solutions to keep their vehicles on the road.

Taxi driver Khaled Hamad has no spare tire in his trunk. His tires are worn down, but he could only afford to change two, replacing them with secondhand ones that aren’t even the standard size recommended by the manufacturer.

“Even when they were cheaper, upgrading my tires was expensive,” Hamad said as he kicked a bald front tire that still needs to be changed. “I make 40 shekels ($11) a day these days. Business is down.”

Rioters at the border marches burn old tires, using the thick black smoke to obscure the vision of Israeli soldiers as they hurl rocks, firebombs and grenades toward Israeli forces defending the border on the other side of the fence dividing Gaza and Israel.

Gazans Suffer, Hamas Riots

Ironically, the tire ban has had no effect on the rioters, who rely on a seemingly endless supply of old ones that are discarded in garages, fields and roadsides across the territory.

Rushdi al-Khour, head of the association of Gaza spare parts merchants, which coordinates imports from Israel, said the tire shortage has caused severe losses for businessmen.

He said the cost of a pair of tires has jumped from $120 to $300 since the ban went into effect, a sizable sum in the economically struggling Strip.

The Hamas-led riots are depicted as being fueled by widespread despair over the difficult conditions created by a blockade on Gaza. However, an examination of Gazans opinions on the issue shows that there is little support for the border violence, while a majority says the riots have achieved nothing.

Two Palestinian opinion polls taken inside Gaza this month demonstrate that the majority of Palestinians oppose these violent incidents. Most blame Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and not Israel, for their severe economic woes.

Moreover, a majority of Palestinians in Gaza say they want Hamas to change its anti-Israel position and agree to make peace with the Jewish state.

The Truth About the ‘Marches’

The truth is that the supposedly peaceful protests are violent riots, promoted by Hamas and executed mostly by terrorists.

“The ‘return marches’ were not ‘popular,’ ‘peaceful’ events, as falsely presented by Palestinian propaganda, but rather a Hamas strategic move accompanied by pre-planned violence,” the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) determined.

In an interview with Al Jazeera in May, Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar called the idea that the terrorist group was employing “peaceful resistance” against Israel “a clear terminological deception.”

“When you have weapons that are being wielded by men who were able to prevent the strongest army in the region from entering the Gaza Strip for 51 days and were able to capture or kill soldiers of that army — is this really ‘peaceful resistance’?” asked al-Zahhar.

“When we talk about ‘peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public,” he said. “This is peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies, and enjoying tremendous popular support.”

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