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Egypt Strangling Gaza by Flooding Smuggling Tunnels

Egypt is flooding Gaza smuggling tunnels, choking off one of Hamas’ biggest sources for money and placing a virtual siege far more severe than Israel ever created.
An Arab working outside a smuggling tunnel connecting the Gaza Strip and Egypt in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip.

An Arab working outside a smuggling tunnel connecting Gaza and Egypt in the border town of Rafah in southern Gaza.
Photo Credit: Rahim Khatib / Flash 90

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood regime has been flooding Hamas smuggling tunnels for three days in a move that may be aimed at punishing Sinai terrorists who threaten Cairo’s authority but also may be a warning to Hamas of who is the boss.

Ironically, heavy rains last month forced Hamas to close the tunnels, but now Egypt is taking over where nature left off.

In fact, Egypt started sealing off he tunnels last year by using cement, but flooding them is more efficient although more deadly for anyone trapped in the tunnels.

The smuggling tunnels have long been a source of up to one-third of goods and merchandise, including diesel fuel, for Gaza. They also are a vehicle for terrorists to travel between Gaza and the northern Sinai and for the flow of advanced arms and explosives.

Cairo has not forgotten that terrorists killed 16 Egyptian soldiers and policemen last August in a well-planned attack that also targeted Israel. Hamas denied Egyptian charges that the terrorists arrived in the northern Sinai through tunnels, but in a region where the truth is a lie and the lie only sometimes is the truth, Egypt rejected Hamas’ innocence and has shut down approximately 200 smuggling tunnels since then.

This week’s flooding dampens any illusion by Hamas that it is the Muslim Brotherhood government’s favorite son, even though it was the Brotherhood that gave birth to Hamas decades ago.

Nicolas Pelham, a writer on Arab affairs for The Economist and the New York Review of Books, wrote for the Institute of Palestine Studies last summer that Hamas euphoria over the Muslim Brotherhood victory in Egypt’s election was premature.

“Mubarak’s ouster in February 2011 could yet spell the collapse of the tunnel economy,” according to Pelham.

“Led by Hamas leaders, Gazans look to Egypt’s new Islamist leadership to dismantle the siege structures and open the crossing to overland goods traffic…. In a sign of renewed leverage over Gaza, and reflecting a desire to cut their subsidy bill, the Egyptian authorities blocked tanker trucks en route to Gaza hauling heavily subsidized Egyptian gasoline….

“The shortages not only rendered life uncomfortable, [but] they [also] deprived it of the dynamo to power more reconstruction. With Gaza’s fate increasingly intertwined with Egypt’s, the dominance of the military government, along with the Muslim Brotherhood’s focus on domestic affairs, cast a pall over the prospects for Gaza’s trade ties with Egypt.”

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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7 Responses to “Egypt Strangling Gaza by Flooding Smuggling Tunnels”

  1. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    This is where the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas file complaints with the UNHRC, obama, and the soros owned HRW demanding condemnation of the Jewish State for "forcing" the flooding.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What exactly was the logic of Israel abandoning the Philidelphi Corridor border crossing between Gaza and Egypt? You could make an argument that Gush Katif was in a stupid, obstructive non-contiguous with Israel and a security burden which increased the risk of Israel having to eventually absorb all of Gaza with its 1.2 million Arabs to keep its 10,000 Jewish Settlers. But why did they abandon the border crossing to allow this rampant smuggling of weapons? It makes no sense whatsoever.

  3. Anonymous says:

    All but 3 or 4 of the Gaza Jewish communities were together, away from any arab communities, contiguous enough for keeping them to make sense. The others were most definitely helpful for security. But you're right. Giving away the Philidelphi Corridor was even less logical and more dangerous than giving away all the Gush Katif communities, which was already terrible.

  4. Chaiya Eitan says:

    I wonder if the BDS loons will have something to say about this!

  5. Grace Acosta says:

    Poor Palis, no one wants them! Not Jordan, not Lebanon, and certainly not Egypt. Hmm, maybe they should check their deodorant.

  6. Charlie Hall says:

    Isolated settlements are HARMFUL to security, as they tie up security resources. But naes1984 is right about not giving up the border. Note that Israel kept the border between Judea/Samaria and Jordan after the Oslo Accords and the peace treaty with Jordan.

  7. Charlie Hall says:

    Considering that the Muslim Brotherhood is in charge of Egypt, which is flooding the tunnels, it is unlikely that they will be filing any complaints!

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