Thursday, July 22, 2010

That Didn't Take Long

Gaza's smugglers, who are operating at the behest and coordination with and by Hamas, found that Egypt's upgraded security fence was not much of an issue to their tunnel business.

They simply cut through it with blowtorches.

AP was there to watch.
Hundreds of tunnels running under the Egypt-Gaza border deliver consumer goods to the Hamas-run territory, bypassing a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt three years ago. In recent weeks, Israel has eased its blockade by allowing most consumer goods into Gaza again through land crossings, and smugglers say they are more concerned about the competition from legitimate imports than about the wall.

Egypt started building the underground wall last year, in hopes of halting smuggling. In addition to consumer goods, the tunnels also deliver weapons and cash to the Islamic militant Hamas.

"We have hundreds of holes in the barrier, equal to the number of active tunnels," said one Egyptian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters. He said the wall is to stretch along nine kilometers (six miles) of border and is more than half complete. "It's a big failure," he said of the undertaking.

A second Egyptian official also said the wall had been breached in hundreds of places.
These smuggling tunnels are meant to enrich and empower Hamas and while they can enable some consumer goods to enter Gaza, the real concern is that Hamas is getting rearmed for a renewed campaign against Israel. Hamas is merely biding its time until it has rearmed sufficiently with upgraded weapons and tactics.

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