The tunnels are being built to smuggle in arms, terrorists, and contraband.
The gunrunning has actually slowed somewhat since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in September because weapons flooded across the border immediately after Israel's departure, depressing prices.Let's not forget that the US, the EU, and the UN all fund the Palestinian Authority to the tune of billions of dollars a year. What does that buy? Tunnels to smuggle in illicit arms that will be used against Israel in a continuing low-level conflict and with the influx of increasingly heavier arms - the possibility of open high intensity conflict. That is, unless the Palestinians start using those weapons on each other as they duke it out to fight for the right to fight the Israelis.
People involved in the trade say activity will pick up again if fighting breaks out between Palestinian factions or if there are renewed conflicts with Israel, as everyone here expects.
Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Israeli Parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee, said 12,000 guns, several hundred antitank-rocket launchers, thousands of antitank rockets, tons of explosives and possibly even some shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles have entered the Gaza Strip over the last year, primarily through the tunnels.
"We're not talking about weapons for terrorism but about weapons for an army," he said by telephone from Jerusalem.
"Some of the tunnels were financed by the Palestinian Authority itself, and some of the weapons smuggled through them were bought by the P.A., although most of them went to Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other terrorist organizations," Mr. Steinitz added.
You see, the Palestinian terrorist groups are fighting with each other to see which is capable of inflicting the most casualties on Israelis and destroy Israel quickest. So far Hamas has been winning that battle of 'hearts and minds' and is expected to pick up a bunch of seats in the PA in tomorrow's vote. They've got the benefit of running against the even more inept and corrupt Fatah, which was Arafat's old party and is run by Abu Mazen who's just as bad.
Some are wondering why it took the New York times so long to get around to writing this story. Good question. I'm still trying to get over the fact that they used booming in the same headline as one referring to Gaza and tunnels. Very appropriate. And this comes at a time when acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says that additional land returns are going to be forthcoming. I question the timing.
In fact, we've seen this before. Israel is clearly trying to influence the outcome of the Palestinian elections by trying to prop up the Fatah/PA incumbents because they don't want to deal with Hamas. It's a lose/lose proposition though. Hamas will most likely win, and they'll still seek Israel's destruction despite their newfound legitimacy among the glitterati and intelligencia whose short attention spans doom them to repeat history - appeasing aggressors and groups hellbent on genocide.
Others covering the tunnel story: BingoProf(who looks at the outset of the Olmert era).