Hamas Feeling the Squeeze Following Egypt Crackdown on Smuggling Tunnels

July 22, 2013 12:45 pm 2 comments

A Gaza tunnel.

Hamas, the terror organization that runs the Gaza Strip, is being hit hard by Egyptian efforts to stifle the vast network of illegal smuggling tunnels that run from Sinai to the small coastal territory.

Ala Al-Rafati, the Hamas economy minister, told Reuters the tunnel closures since June had cost Gaza around $230 million – around a tenth of the GDP of the territory.

“The continued restrictions threaten to bring construction projects to a complete halt,” he said, referring to cement that has been brought through the tunnels, along with everything from foodstuffs to electrical appliances to the occasional car.

Cairo began its crackdown on the tunnels after a spike in violence in Sinai a year ago, highlighted by the murder of 16 of its soldiers at the hands of jihadi militants. Egypt said some of the gunmen had slipped into Sinai from nearby Gaza, an accusation denied by Hamas.

The tunnel crackdown has gathered pace since the removal of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi from power earlier this month.

According to Reuters, Cairo’s troops have destroyed many of the smuggling tunnels in recent weeks that ran under the Egypt-Gaza border and which had provided Gaza with commercial goods as well as weaponry.

“There is a difficult humanitarian situation in Gaza because of the Egyptian measures on the borders,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters. “Most of the tunnels were demolished and the few that remain open are paralyzed.”

Ehud Yaari, a Middle East analyst from Israel who has studied the Sinai situation in depth, said that while Egypt had stemmed the flow of weapons into Gaza, it was permitting a measured flow of commercial goods to prevent massive shortfalls.

“When the Egyptians felt there was a shortage of fuel in Gaza, they allowed certain tunnels that carry fuel in to operate for a few days. They are very sensitive to the situation inside Gaza,” Yaari said in the Reuters report.

Abu Zuhri said Hamas’s first concern was providing for the Palestinians’ day-to-day needs.

“We are capable of creating alternatives to contend with any crisis,” he said. “The ongoing closure of tunnels without making an alternative is practically strangling Gaza.”

2 Comments

  • Welcome to the “civilization” of brotherly love.

  • the kerem shalom crossing is always available, when it isn’t closed due to hamas’ terrorist attacks, and israel is obligated to sell fuel to gaza under the oslo accords, except that the gazans don’t want to pay israeli fuel prices, preferring the lower prices from egypt instead.

    it’s a tough choice, between hatred and economics, but it’s hardly a “crisis”.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Featured Sports World BREAKING: Palestinian Soccer League Withdraws Bid to Suspend Israel from FIFA

    BREAKING: Palestinian Soccer League Withdraws Bid to Suspend Israel from FIFA

    The head of Israel’s soccer association called on his Palestinian counterpart to “join forces,” as the Palestinian Football Association withdrew its bid on Friday to have Israel suspended from FIFA. “Let’s leave it to the politicians to do politics,” said Israel Football Association chief Ofer Eini, moments after PFA Chairman Jibril Rajoub announced that his group had withdrawn the proposal. After his remarks, Eini shook hands with the Palestinian soccer chief. Rajoub thanked “those” who convinced him to drop the [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Israeli-American Group Congratulates Cavaliers’ Blatt on Reaching NBA Finals

    Israeli-American Group Congratulates Cavaliers’ Blatt on Reaching NBA Finals

    JNS.org – An organization whose work focuses on the estimated population of 500,000-800,000 Israeli Americans congratulated David Blatt, the Jewish head coach of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Cleveland Cavaliers and a longtime Israel-based coach, for clinching an appearance in the NBA Finals. The Israeli-American Council (IAC), whose stated mission is “to build an active and giving Israeli-American community throughout the United States in order to strengthen the State of Israel, our next generation, and to provide a bridge to [...]

    Read more →
  • Food US & Canada Bacon Flavor Ben & Jerry’s ‘Not Gonna Happen’ Because it Wouldn’t be Kosher

    Bacon Flavor Ben & Jerry’s ‘Not Gonna Happen’ Because it Wouldn’t be Kosher

    Famed ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s will not be introducing a Bacon flavored product to its offerings because the company intends to keep its entire line kosher, Marketing Director Alison Gilbert told AOL’s morning show Rise recently. “It’s kind of funny, a lot of people look for bacon in our ice cream, which is probably not gonna happen because all of our ice cream is kosher,” she said, referring to Jewish dietary restrictions that proscribe the consumption of pig [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports Israeli Judo Team Faces Antisemitic Harassment in Morocco: ‘We Will Murder You’

    Israeli Judo Team Faces Antisemitic Harassment in Morocco: ‘We Will Murder You’

    Israeli athletes at a world Judo championship in Morocco reportedly faced antisemitic slurs during the competition, news site WorldNetDaily reported on Monday. “We will murder you,” and “you’re not wanted here, go home,” were among the vituperative attacks directed at the Israeli Judo Association team, which was in Morocco last week for the World Masters Judo Tournament. According to Haaretz, each Israeli teammate was met with boos and jeers upon entering a fight. Additionally, no Israeli flags were present at [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Pop superstar Lady Gaga on Thursday accepted an award from Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of her Born This Way Foundation, which strives to combat bullying among young people. “Your philosophies are so in line with ours,” she said of the ADL upon accepting the Making a Difference Award in a videotaped message, which was shown at a ceremony in New York City. “We want to help young people know that their feelings and who they are on [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    JNS.org – Eighty years young, Leonard Cohen fits many descriptions—singer, songwriter, poet, novelist, monk. From his Jewish upbringing in Canada to the present day, Cohen has always explored his spiritual side. This month, the singer-songwriter released the CD (May 12) and iTunes (on May 8 of this year) formats of his latest album, Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, which features live recordings from his world tours in 2012 and 2013. Last year, Cohen’s Popular Problems was voted by Rolling Stone [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    JNS.org – Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) head Sepp Blatter said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that contrary to Palestinian complaints, Israel has not violated any FIFA statutes and should not be suspended from international soccer’s governing body. “We should not come to one federation saying we will exclude them,” said Blatter, the Jerusalem Post reported. “If the national association is fulfilling its obligations then there is no need to intervene,” he said. “I’m on a [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Middle East Sports Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said on Tuesday it was “appalled” by a Palestinian Football Association initiative to suspend Israel from FIFA, calling it another “front waged in the context of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.” “We are appalled at the temerity of the Palestinan Football Association (PFA) demand that FIFA suspend Israel at your forthcoming Congress in Zurich,” wrote the group’s international relations director, Dr. Shimon Samuels, in a letter to FIFA President Joseph [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.