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Friday, February 4, 2011
Hamas is fighting for the tunnels: prevents the transfer of fuel from Israel

Hamas is fighting for the tunnels: prevents the transfer of fuel from Israel

By Avi Issacharoff Haaretz Hebrew edition 4 February 2011

[IMRA translation of excerpt from the item in Hebrew edition
http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1213395.html ]

After years of complaints by Hamas that Israel is preventing the entry of
goods into the Gaza Strip causing distress of the population, it turns out
that the organization has recently begun to prevent the entry of various
goods from Israel. This, in order to maintain the broad scope of activities
of the smuggling tunnels from Egypt, an important source of income used by
the Hamas government.

Hamas authorities have recently initiated the entry of industrial diesel to
Gaza from Israel. Israel in the past supplied more than 100,000 liters of
diesel fuel a day to Gaza, to ensure its power station would continue to
work. During the harsh siege on the Gaza Strip, Hamas made sure to complain
every time the fuel flow halted. This even when the Authority ordered Israel
to stop the flow of diesel fuel into Gaza, because the Hamas government hasnít
paid for the diesel fuel. But now for more than a month Israel has not been
asked to transfer industrial diesel to Gaza. It turns out that Hamas was
able to establish a fuel supply line through tunnels in Rafah, between Gaza
and Egypt and the power station receives all the fuel needed to run it.

But the story does not end with just diesel. It turns out that Hamas advised
Palestinian traders who deal with Israel that they would not be able to
import cigarettes, snacks, soft drinks and office furniture from Israel into
Gaza. The purpose of the decision is to preserve the volume of smuggling
tunnels in Rafah, and not to hurt them after the partial removal of the
Israeli blockade on Gaza. Every trader who brings goods and tunnels into
Gaza through the tunnels has to pay taxes to the Hamas government. A
decrease in smuggling means damage to many families that earn their livings
from them (tens of thousands of people) and a decline in revenues for Hamas,
which receives payment for each tunnel in operating as well as for the goods
passing through the tunnels.

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