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The Gaza tunnels 14, October 2008

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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For some months or years now I have read various articles about the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. I’ve read that they are needed if not essential to help the Palestinians affected by the Isreali blockade which is causing massive and lethal shortages in the territories. Yet when i read these sorts of articles, i brought with me – as always – my own particular cultural baggage. In this example, unwittingly, I assumed that the tunnels would be like the resistance tunnel in occupied France, some of which I’ve seen. Such tunnels were, for example, dug under houses so that the resistance could disappear there should the Germans come to the house looking for them. They could fit one or two people in side by side, perhaps, in the largest examples and were generally quite short. This was my assumption. Yet, a recent article goes to show just how careful one needs to be with assumptions. Indeed, as the saying goes, they make an ass out of you and me.

For the tunnels, or at least some of them, across the Gaza-Egypt border are somewhat bigger than the resistance’s tunnels. According to Al Sharq Al Awsat some are as deep as 18 metres and as long as 1km. A further revelation (for me, at least) in the article was that there are apparently some 1100 tunnels traversing the border. Needless to say, with this number of tunnels operation, there are a whole raft of concerns from child labour to the real and evidenced danger of tunnels collapsing. So much so that supporters have begun a charity to help those killed by working in the tunnels.