Tuesday, May 07, 2013

7-May-13: Gazan tunnel vision

From National Geographic's "The tunnels of Gaza" [Image Source]
This is a follow on to what we posted last night concerning Palestinian Arab corruption. In "6-May-13: European bureaucrats keep pouring cash into the dark recesses of the PA, while Palestinian Arab concerns are ignored" we looked at a report that deals with multiple issues of malfeasance and structural corruption. 

The report touches on the Gaza tunnels meaning those running to and from Egypt. These are not overseen by the PA government, and so (as the report states) “great mystery still surrounded the revenues collected by the Gaza government through these tunnels". 

Others are worried about the non-fiscal aspects of the Gaza tunnel industry. Just today, it was reported that 
Egyptian forces uncovered 276 previously unknown smuggling tunnels under the border with Gaza on Monday. Egyptian security officials told Ma'an that 154 tunnels had been destroyed and 94 would be demolished soon. Security forces are struggling to destroy some 28 tunnels constructed under residential properties... [Maan News Agency, Bethlehem]
To understate things, Israel comes in for large, and mostly inaccurate, doses of criticism for keeping the Gazans locked in. But as the Maan report recalls, the reality is that Moslem Brotherhood-controlled Egypt has a significant shared border with Gaza. It's the tunnels on the Egyptian border that are being destroyed. And why? An Egyptian news report today quotes an unnamed military source saying 
the border is constantly monitored by the [Egyptian] Armed Forces, stressing that it is in the interest of national security and is not part of any agreement with Israel.
Reuters reported in February 2013 that an Egyptian court ordered the tunnels on its Gaza border destroyed:
Egypt's ruling Muslim Brotherhood has close ties with the Hamas Islamists that run Gaza, but many Egyptians fear the enclave is a security risk for Egypt. Leftist lawyers said they brought the case with activists to force the government's hand. President Mohamed Mursi's national security adviser Essam Haddad has said Egypt will not tolerate the two-way flow of smuggled arms through the tunnels that is destabilizing its Sinai peninsula. Egyptian forces flooded some of the tunnels earlier this month. "The court ruled to make it obligatory that the government destroys the tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip," Judge Farid Tanaghou said... [Reuters]
And destroy them the Egyptian forces do - by dynamite, by pumping poisonous gas into them, by flooding them with sewage effluent.

Nothing the Egyptians do seems to reduce the flow of ignorant vituperation that heaps blame on Israel.  For instance, the hyper-influential American academic Noam Chomsky published an essay in November 2012 entitled "Israel has made Gaza a giant prison". Others accuse Israel of operating "the world's largest open-air prison camp" and "the Auschwitz of our time". And a syndicated AFP news report today manages, yet again, to analyze the Gaza situation while barely mentioning the Egyptian aspect.

What's too-often forgotten when those criticisms are aired is that they protect those who make the money. Keep in mind there are virtually never any Gazan tunnels that run into or out of Israel. It's always into and out of Egypt. The Egyptians, for Egyptian reasons, have imposed a blockade and strict controls on Gaza for the past seven years, continuing up until today, on what passes into and out of Gaza. It's in their power to throw open wide the gates of Gaza with Egypt. But they don't. And so long as the Hamas regime is in control in Gaza, it's likely they won't.

It's doubtful Hamas would want them to. The tunnels economy makes piles of money for Hamas insiders, for Hamas itself, for Gaza entrepreneurs, for Egyptian smugglers. And on top of all that, it allows Chomsky and others like him to wax indignant at what Israel is doing (in their ultra-ideological view) to the Gazans. Basically a no-lose scenario.

Yep, win/win, except of course for the victims of Hamas tyranny and barbarism on both sides of the fence.

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