Thursday, August 30, 2012

Who Wants To Be A Gazan Tunnel Millionaire?

Khaled Abu Toameh reports on How Many Millionaires Live in the "Impoverished" Gaza Strip
The world often thinks of the Gaza Strip, home to 1.4 million Palestinians, as one of the poorest places on earth, where people live in misery and squalor.

But according to an investigative report published in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, there are at least 600 millionaires living in the Gaza Strip [Arabic]. The newspaper report also refutes the claim that the Gaza Strip has been facing a humanitarian crisis because of an Israeli blockade.
The reality goes beyond the malls, restaurants and water park that are highlighted ever once in a while on a YouTube video. The fact remains that the Gazan tunnels supply goods as well as weapons:
Informed Palestinian sources revealed that every day, in addition to weapons, thousands of tons of fuel, medicine, various types of merchandise, vehicles, electrical appliances, drugs, medicine and cigarettes are smuggled into the Gaza Strip through more than 400 tunnels. A former Sudanese government official who visited the Gaza Strip lately was quoted as saying that he found basic goods that were not available in Sudan. Almost all the tunnels are controlled by the Hamas government, which has established a special commission to oversee the smuggling business, which makes the Hamas government the biggest benefactor of the smuggling industry.
In fact, Hamas terrorists benefit to the extent that 25% of their budget comes from the various taxes they impose on those tunnels.

Everything was going well until August 5, when Palestinian terrorists killed 16 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai -- since then, Egypt has apparently been moving troops into the Sinai to deal with the terrorist there, and made a show of starting to destroy Gaza tunnels, since they were used as part of the attack on the Egyptian soldiers.

Toameh doubts Egyptian President Morsi would cut off the lifeblood of the Hamas regime -- and why should they?

Egypt has already made its show of force to prove that it means business. As long as Egypt can get Hamas to tow the line and know its place, Morsi would have no reason to destroy the tunnels and weaken Hamas.

And the tunnel business will continue to flourish.

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