zondag 31 augustus 2008

blokkade van Gaza

De blokkade van Gaza is zeer lucratief voor Hamas.
Vele Gazanen vinden werk in het "tunnelsysteem".
Ook kinderen worden ingezet bij dit 20 miljoen dollar project.
Zij gaan met vogeltjes de tunnels in om te graven en als het vogeltje de geest geeft wordt er zuurstof de tunnel ingeblazen.
Hamas heft zelfs belasting op tunnelwinsten.
Lees onderstaand artikel uit Haaretz van 31/8/08:
Hamas making $20 million a month from Gaza smuggling tunnels
By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent
Tags: Egypt, Rafah, Hamas

Arab sources report that Hamas recently laid a pipeline for supplying the blockaded Gaza Strip with fuel from Egypt.

In a move that indicates that Hamas is trying to place the smuggling operation between Egyptian and Palestinian Rafah on an official footing, the pipeline was laid in one of several tunnels dug specifically for this purpose.

At a conference last week in Rafah to discuss the smuggling tunnels phenomenon, Hamas government officials made it clear that they mean to prevent any new tunnels from operating, and to increase oversight of some 200 tunnels already in use. Hamas wants to thwart use of the tunnels for drug smuggling, and the exploitation of child labor in digging the tunnels.
The conference was organized by a Gazan human rights group under the banner: "The tunnels - advantages and disadvantages." Speakers, including Rafah Mayor Issa al-Nashar and Hamas' civil defense chief Yousef al-Zahar, praised the tunnels as important conduits for weapons for the "resistance," but also pointed to the dangers inherent in their operation. Nashar noted that numerous civilians were recently hurt by the collapse of tunnels in the Rafah area. He blamed some of these incidents on Egypt, which he accused of blowing up some tunnels and flooding others.

Egypt has indeed ratcheted up its anti-tunnel efforts lately, and is making impressive strides in locating tunnels and shutting them down.

Nashar demanded that a committee be appointed to supervise the materials entering Gaza through the tunnels, as well as the tunnel diggers' workload.

Yousef al-Zahar reported that his personnel had recently participated in rescue efforts at 16 collapsed tunnels, in which 19 people were killed and more than 100 injured. He said there are four reasons tunnels collapse: a fuel leak (in which case the tunnel should not be used for six months because of flammable fumes), poison gas piped in (which Hamas accuses Egypt of doing), improper digging and water flooding.

The national security commander for the border region, Ibrahim Abu al-Najar, reported that there are 200 tunnels in operation. He said that Hamas policemen are preventing new tunnels from opening, and are keeping an eye on the others to prevent drug smuggling.

One of the tunnel proprietors at the conference estimated that the industry is providing employment for some 4,000 people.

Arab sources say that children are frequently used in the digging process, and carry birds as an early-warning system to indicate a lack of oxygen. If the bird passes out, air is pumped into the tunnel.

Various estimates put Hamas' monthly profits from the tunnels at $20 million. Hamas levies a special tax on tunnel proprietors, and also collect fees for every bit of contraband - whether goods or people (wanted gunmen, people who need to go abroad for study or medical treatments, etc.) Besides explosives and metals for fashioning rockets, the array of products smuggled through the tunnels is staggering: livestock, drugs, electrical appliances, fuel, cigarettes, clothing, toys and much more.

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