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Gaza economy loses $230 million due to tunnel closures
Published Tuesday 23/07/2013 (updated) 14/08/2013 13:55
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GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The economy of the Gaza Strip lost an estimated $230 million in June due to the closure of smuggling tunnels by Egyptian authorities, Gaza's minister of economy said Tuesday.

Over 20,000 people have lost their jobs in the construction industry as a result of shortages in raw materials which usually arrive through the network of smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, minister of economy Alaa Rafati told Ma'an.

"The siege Israel imposed on Gaza is still in effect, though it was loosened at a certain point thanks to the tunnels," Rafati said.

Nearly 90 percent of projects funded by Qatar and Turkey have been suspended due to a lack of supplies to Gaza since June 15.

Supplies allowed through by Israel via the Kerem Shalom crossing only cover around 30 percent of the population's needs, Rafati said.

"We don't oppose closing the tunnels, but an alternative must be found first, which is opening the Rafah crossing for the entry of goods."

Egypt has destroyed dozens of tunnels since last August following the killing of 16 Egyptian soldiers in a militant attack near the Gaza fence.

Political unrest in the country and security measures in the Sinai peninsula have also caused a large slowdown in the tunnel trade, which has severely damaged Gaza's construction industry.

Egypt abruptly closed the Rafah terminal for five days in June after a rise in militant attacks in Sinai following the army's ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi. It partially reopened the border on June 10.

At one stage an estimated 2,500-3,000 tunnels snaked their way under the desert fence but the network has shrunk markedly since 2010, when Israel eased some of the limits they imposed on imports into the coastal enclave.
1 ) Outlier / USA
23/07/2013 17:50
Consequences. Every decision has some.

2 ) Arnold / Canada
23/07/2013 18:45
If Egypt does not open it border crossing into Gaza then please explain why. Seems to me Egypt could care less for the Palestinians. Another example of why Egypt wanted nothing to do with the Gazan Palestinians even when Egypt could have protected them during the 1979 Israeli-Egypt peace agreement.

3 ) PLO / PS
23/07/2013 18:45

4 ) Johnny benson / USA
23/07/2013 19:29
This sounds crazy.....but when you look at how the Palestinians are treated by their fellow Arabs...Jordan...black sept.25.000 dead ...Lebanon...refugee camps f or 65 yrs..terrible treatment by Iraq..Syria..Kuwait...Saudis...and worse then all ..the Egyptians....outside of the E.U. Suckers....the Israelis are much better...especially to Israeli Arab citizens

5 ) Mel / USA
23/07/2013 22:48
Rather than focus on the dollars lost,consider the actual THINGS which can't get thru' to the collectively punished people of Gaza.Food,MEDICINES,FUEL for domestic/hospital generators,cars,dialysis machines &other goods that the people who survived the WARSAW GHETTO will tell you gave them some quality of life,instead of TOUGH Nazi attrition!SHAME on Arab neighbors for not standing up for Palestine under Israel's oppression.They &Israel ALL profit from Palestine's PAIN! NO FACE!

25/07/2013 07:49
quite funny/

7 ) Kirsty / Australia
25/07/2013 11:49
@5 ''Food,MEDICINES,FUEL for domestic/hospital generators,cars,dialysis machines &other goods''. Have you ever been to Gaza, and seen the food markets and traffic jams? Apparently not.

8 ) Alice / Canada
25/07/2013 11:53
Number 5, mentions the Warsaw Ghetto, those diseased weak, starving Jews fought to the death rather than starve to death. No one in Gaza is diseased weak or starving. They are living under Hamas who a majority voted for.

9 ) Mel / USA
25/07/2013 16:50
#7 & #8:Kirsty/Alice:Have u stood in line in hot sun,waited 8 hrs to fill a gas tank to get work,to buy simple food?Taken a sick child/mom to Rafah,have them DIE coz they can't get life-saving medicines/care?Suffered 12-18 hrs in Gaza with NO electricity/gas,cooling/heat,lights,fridge,stove,food going BAD in the heat?Intentioned ignorance is COLLUSION,'ladies'.Gazan's DO resist"to the death".AND,6 MILLION Jews,walked"to their(Arbeit Macht Frei)death" too! Were they to blame TOO,'ladies'?

10 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
25/07/2013 17:38
@ 5), 9), Mel, I actually admit you DO have some valid points here. [I'm being sincere here ... I'm not using you as a schmatta (and never would) ... and since you're starting to talk in Yiddish ... maybe some day you can take the next step and learn Hebrew and Arabic ... if you ever come to Israel and we happen to meet, I'd honestly be glad to invite you to a cafe and have a cup of coffee with you.] Separately ... Yes, although 7) and 8) have very valid points and are right, no one (cont.)

11 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
25/07/2013 17:51
in Israel likes our Gazan blockade. Israel wants nothing more than to abolish it (the "good" news is--even though we've lessened its severity since the beginning and it's still too harsh--eventually, it will end ... of course, the big question is "When ???" ... as everybody realizes). Currently, the only way for it to end is if Hamas and Israel agree to form a joint security and inspection enforcement effort not only to ban importation of terrorist/weapons materials but also to monitor (cont.)

12 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
25/07/2013 18:05
how all potential weapons-making materials are used on a round-the-clock basis to guard against any "construction" or "fuel-related" (translation: rocket- and bomb-making) materials falling into the wrong hands. Israel stands ready to cooperate with Hamas and do this instantly. You see, we and Hamas KNOW each other very well ... let there be no mistake about that. Neither of us need nor want a "3rd party" to "help" us accomplish this. We damn well know the risks but it's not hopeless.

13 ) What nonsence / USA
25/07/2013 18:14
@9 ''Have u stood in line in hot sun,waited 8 hrs to fill a gas tank'' You clearly demonstrate that you have no idea about life in Gaza in the summer of 2013. There are no shortages of gas, and the markets are full of produce and food, the people are on the beach enjoying the sunshine. Please come to Gaza and see for your self, the buildings, hotels and development.

14 ) Mel / USA
25/07/2013 19:45
#13:U too,sound like Ger/Pol people(1950's)in the countryside who swore they'd"no idea what was happening"on the other side of the forest(fence).Denialism is easier than burden of GUILT,shame,culpability of selective ignorance.#Yehuda:Coffee in(pre-67)Israel,when PALESTINE is free,sounds marvellous!We can SING&dance the ancient languages together between debate!Salam,Shalom! Israel&factions already"have agreements"which sacrifice NATIONAL PAL freedoms/rights,for profitable factional token power

15 ) Colin Wright / USA
25/07/2013 23:47
To What nonsence #13 'Please come to Gaza and see for your self, the buildings, hotels and development.' I note that you yourself write from the USA.

16 ) Colin Wright / USA
25/07/2013 23:50
To Johnny Benson #4: 'This sounds crazy.....but when you look at how the Palestinians are treated by their fellow Arabs......the Israelis are much better...especially to Israeli Arab citizens." Uh huh. Is that how you felt about 9/11? I mean, seeing as how 20,000 Americans are killed by other Americans each year and 9/11 killed a mere 3000 or whatever. I bet you just shrugged it off. Compared to what we do to ourselves... Was that your reaction?

17 ) Paula / Turkey
26/07/2013 12:26
@14 Your post seems baseless. http://www.israeltoday.co.il/Default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=23928

18 ) southparkbear / usa
26/07/2013 13:01
really #13, you shoul listen to Mel. after all the BMW-7 imported to gaza for one reason only, reduce gas emand

19 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
26/07/2013 20:50
@ 18), BAAAAAAA !!! ... HA !!! .... HA !!! ... HA !!! ... Oh hell, spb !!! ... THAT was good !!! ... You been to Gaza lately ??? ... No ??? ... How about any of you Americans ??? ... No ??? ... O.K., ... So all you Americans who complain about the price of gas, go over there (yes, it IS possible), see the price of gas, fill up your car and I guarantee you'll never complain about the cost of gas in your country again. Bravo !!!, spb !!!

20 ) Mel / USA
27/07/2013 16:33
#19:Yehuda:Oh fear not!Every time I fill my US gas-tank(summer price $3.48 a GALLON,winter price $2.98 a GALLON/variable)with ease,a flash of comparison rushes thru' my conscience of what EXPENSIVE human cost/suffering,globally,that 'cheap' Saudi oil comes with,just so I can drive at whim&have my air-con/heating/lights on.But then,I drive a mini or ride my old push bike as often as possible,not having drones or snipers aimed at me for just daring to move A 2 B! "What price freedom" 2 others?
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