(Thumbnail image: Richard Mosse/Time Magazine)

 

“We’re now in one of the hundreds of tunnels that goes from Rafah, the Gaza side under the ground, to Rafah, the Egyptian side. This is one of the very few that is still working...the tunnel operators are absolutely furious that Egypt is starting to build this underground wall to try and cut off the tunnels and stop all the smuggling.” (CNN)
 
Since a 2006 Israeli blockade virtually sealed off the Gaza Strip, the region has become dependent on the network of underground tunnels to supply it with a number of goods – many legitimate, some not so much. Egypt’s willingness to build such an impenetrable wall would stop the flow of smuggled goods and could deliver a devastating blow to Hamas and the others living in the Gaza Strip.
 
We’re looking at perspectives from BBC News, Tehran Times, France 24, ARY News, and Al Jazeera English.

First, an explanation of the intricate and extensive underground network of tunnels. This BBC graphic illustrates the depth of Gaza’s tunnels compared with the proposed wall on the Egyptian side.
 
Egyptian officials say maintaining order has become “extremely difficult” as Hamas smuggles arms beneath the border.  

But in the Tehran Times, Hamas’ political bureau chief says the wall has nothing to do with Egypt’s security -- calling it “a wall of death”.

The Iranian newspaper reports on the resilience Gazans have shown in the face of shortages.

 

“Indeed, Gazans have always devised ways to survive against the odds. With difficulty, they dug tunnels to Egypt, and through these tunnels, basic necessities, such as food, medicine, toys, and some livestock were able to trickle into Gaza."

The larger issue, of the original blockade, touches not just Hamas and Gazans, but also Israelis. Israel faces increasing pressure from its chief ally, the United States, to normalize relations. But in an interview with France 24, an Israeli spokesperson for the Embassy in France defends the Israeli blockade of Gaza saying militants could use construction materials to build missiles.
 
“Let me give you an example of exactly what happened, we used to have cement that went in. We had tubes that were allowed into Gaza and they were turned into artisanal rockets, which were afterwards shot back at Israel.”
 
Many Palestinians accuse Egypt of siding with Israel and the U.S. in order to feather its own bed of interests. The Dubai-based Pakistani News outlet ARY News reports on a wider Muslim protest aimed at Egypt.

“Hamas leaders are furious about the border wall and are seeking to rally Arab and Muslim public opinion against Egypt. On Sunday, demonstrators marched outside Egyptian embassies in Jordan and Lebanon, holding posters showing Egypt's president with Israel's Star of David on his forehead.”
 
On Al Jazeera English, Sir David Frost talks with an Israeli government spokesman who says the tunnels are unnecessary for Palestinian survival, because Israel ferries necessary supplies to the Gaza Strip every day.

“Let’s be clear, every day hundreds, over a hundred trucks enter the Gaza strip with food stuffs and medicines and so forth. We are ensuring that there are no shortages in Gaza of vital humanitarian supplies.”

So what do you think?  How do you think this will affect the already strained conditions in the Gaza Strip?  Leave us your feedback, and be sure to check out our transcripts.

 

Writer: Jennifer Herseim

Egypt Border Wall Seen to Starve Gaza

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Jan 14, 2010

Egypt Border Wall Seen to Starve Gaza

(Thumbnail image: Richard Mosse/Time Magazine)

 

“We’re now in one of the hundreds of tunnels that goes from Rafah, the Gaza side under the ground, to Rafah, the Egyptian side. This is one of the very few that is still working...the tunnel operators are absolutely furious that Egypt is starting to build this underground wall to try and cut off the tunnels and stop all the smuggling.” (CNN)
 
Since a 2006 Israeli blockade virtually sealed off the Gaza Strip, the region has become dependent on the network of underground tunnels to supply it with a number of goods – many legitimate, some not so much. Egypt’s willingness to build such an impenetrable wall would stop the flow of smuggled goods and could deliver a devastating blow to Hamas and the others living in the Gaza Strip.
 
We’re looking at perspectives from BBC News, Tehran Times, France 24, ARY News, and Al Jazeera English.

First, an explanation of the intricate and extensive underground network of tunnels. This BBC graphic illustrates the depth of Gaza’s tunnels compared with the proposed wall on the Egyptian side.
 
Egyptian officials say maintaining order has become “extremely difficult” as Hamas smuggles arms beneath the border.  

But in the Tehran Times, Hamas’ political bureau chief says the wall has nothing to do with Egypt’s security -- calling it “a wall of death”.

The Iranian newspaper reports on the resilience Gazans have shown in the face of shortages.

 

“Indeed, Gazans have always devised ways to survive against the odds. With difficulty, they dug tunnels to Egypt, and through these tunnels, basic necessities, such as food, medicine, toys, and some livestock were able to trickle into Gaza."

The larger issue, of the original blockade, touches not just Hamas and Gazans, but also Israelis. Israel faces increasing pressure from its chief ally, the United States, to normalize relations. But in an interview with France 24, an Israeli spokesperson for the Embassy in France defends the Israeli blockade of Gaza saying militants could use construction materials to build missiles.
 
“Let me give you an example of exactly what happened, we used to have cement that went in. We had tubes that were allowed into Gaza and they were turned into artisanal rockets, which were afterwards shot back at Israel.”
 
Many Palestinians accuse Egypt of siding with Israel and the U.S. in order to feather its own bed of interests. The Dubai-based Pakistani News outlet ARY News reports on a wider Muslim protest aimed at Egypt.

“Hamas leaders are furious about the border wall and are seeking to rally Arab and Muslim public opinion against Egypt. On Sunday, demonstrators marched outside Egyptian embassies in Jordan and Lebanon, holding posters showing Egypt's president with Israel's Star of David on his forehead.”
 
On Al Jazeera English, Sir David Frost talks with an Israeli government spokesman who says the tunnels are unnecessary for Palestinian survival, because Israel ferries necessary supplies to the Gaza Strip every day.

“Let’s be clear, every day hundreds, over a hundred trucks enter the Gaza strip with food stuffs and medicines and so forth. We are ensuring that there are no shortages in Gaza of vital humanitarian supplies.”

So what do you think?  How do you think this will affect the already strained conditions in the Gaza Strip?  Leave us your feedback, and be sure to check out our transcripts.

 

Writer: Jennifer Herseim

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