cover8 - The economics of tunnels One of the excuses for...

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The economics of tunnels One of the excuses for the Israeli attack was that Hamas was using tunnels along the Gaza-Egyptian border to smuggle weapons. The truth is that these tunnels have been used mainly to smuggle basic necessities and their numbers only grew exponentially after Israel imposed its siege on Gaza following Hamas' rise to power in 2006. Mohammed Omer , who reports from the Gaza Strip, says that the smuggling would stop if only Israel reopened the borders. OPTIONS are few in Rafah. As in other societies throughout history trapped behind walls or segregated in ghettos, the smuggling in of basic necessities, as well as weapons for defence, means the difference between life and death. In Gaza, tunnelling dates back to the 1980s, when Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. During the first intifada, which began in late 1987, tunnels were used as an underground railroad, transporting people out of Gaza, as well as serving as safe houses for resistance fighters, and storage spaces for weapons and supplies. Since Israel imposed its siege on Gaza after Hamas won democratic legislative elections in January 2006, the number of Palestinians tied to some segment of the tunnel industry has grown in direct proportion to the increasing lack of availability of raw materials and basic necessities, including food, fuel and medicine. Palestinian sources estimate that some 6,000 people are employed as diggers in the hundreds of tunnels criss-crossing the Gaza-Egyptian border. But tunnels are not the romantic passageways portrayed in Hollywood films about World War II or Vietnam. You can die simply upon entering one - as a result of the tunnel collapsing, of suffocation from the tear gas lobbed in by Egyptian authorities, or from electrocution caused by the willy-nilly wiring jerry- rigged to provide lighting and ventilation. You can die simply by getting lost in the maze, or from breathing in the unstable sand. If you're lucky, your body will be found and given a proper burial.
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This note was uploaded on 01/22/2010 for the course ECO 2201 taught by Professor Sparr during the Fall '07 term at St.Francis College.

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cover8 - The economics of tunnels One of the excuses for...

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