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Egypt tunnel closures create 'serious shortages' in Gaza
Published Wednesday 24/07/2013 (updated) 26/07/2013 20:02
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A worker calls on smugglers as he brings gravel into a smuggling
tunnel beneath the Gaza-Egypt border in Rafah.
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process said Tuesday that Egypt's crackdown on smuggling tunnels, together with ongoing Israeli restrictions, have created severe shortages in Gaza.

Robert Serry, speaking to the UN Security Council, said political developments in Egypt have led to an intensified campaign against smuggling tunnels along the shared border.

"As a result of these actions against illegal activity, according to some estimates, 80 percent of the tunnels are no longer functioning," Serry was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The crackdown has led to serious shortages of fuel and basic building materials, Serry added.

The top UN official warned that access into Gaza through legal crossings must be liberalized, otherwise economic and humanitarian conditions would further deteriorate.

"We encourage all parties not to forget the precarious situation in Gaza and to take advantage of the improved context between the parties to further lift the remaining closures," the Special Representative said, also calling on Egypt to keep open the Rafah crossing for people.

Gaza's minister of economy said earlier this week that the economy had lost an estimated $230 million in June due to the closure of smuggling tunnels by Egyptian authorities.

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, Alaa Rafati told Ma'an.

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.

At one stage an estimated 2,500-3,000 tunnels snaked their way under the desert fence.
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1 ) Carla / Netherlands
24/07/2013 11:53
Shame on Egypt. Democracy? don't make me laugh your slaves of the US. I hope your country rots in hell for your actions, hey your well on your way!

2 ) Paddy / Ireland
24/07/2013 12:03
C. C. for the I.C.C.

3 ) EE / UK
24/07/2013 16:18
Hamas and palestinians do know what they need to do in order to reopen border crossings with Israel: Recognize Israel; Renounce violence and terror and disarm terrorist organizations; Confirm compliance with all signed agreements between Israel and PA. After palestinians fulfill those requirements they can ask Israel to consider normalization of the cross-border trade and commerce. Until then palestinians should be extremely happy to get humanitarian shipments from Israel - but no more than that

4 ) Anadalucia / Spain
24/07/2013 17:27
#1 Did you know that Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip until it was liberated by the Israelis on 5th June 1967. Arab hating Arab, Moslem hating Moslem, is recurring theme in the Islamic world.

5 ) Robby / USA
24/07/2013 19:12
3 ) EE / UK - well said. The responsibility for the residents of Gaza should fall squarely on the shoulders of HAMAS.

6 ) Johnny benson / USA
24/07/2013 19:29
There are many long standing problems amongst the people in the Middle East....Sunni vs shite...Arabs vs Persians...royals vs each other...Turks vs Arabs...Kurds vs Arabs..and Turks..iranians(Persians)...despots vs despots....despots vs people..Christians vs Muslims....if Israel never existed...there would still be turmoil...look at Europe..at war...for hundreds of yrs...and for 3 thousand yrs....everybody fought the Jews.......that's the world

7 ) Sherezade / US
24/07/2013 19:38
@ EE / UK- Continue to convince your self of Israels legitimacy when Israelis themselves know fine well that Israel is a illegitimate state according to your religion. The will of the Palestinian people will never waver no matter how much charity weapons Israel begs from the US. The Palestinians & YOU people know fine well deliverance is theirs. Just like South Africa Israel's apartheid tyrannical rule will come to an end. So carry on living in fear in bricked up walls which like every other wal

8 ) Cherish / US
24/07/2013 21:40
The responsibility of the residents of Gaza is a the responsibility of Hamas the concentration camp that Gaza has become is due to Israels inhumane barbarism, attacks, bombings and illegal siege!

9 ) peter franzen / england
24/07/2013 21:49
The Egyptian zionist stooge miltary dictators must be hunted down one by one, put on trial and executed.

10 ) Outlier / USA
24/07/2013 22:58
Respect isn't simply given - it is earned. So too is enmity. Gaza, thanks to the aggressive, heavy-handed, self-important and often irresponsible actions of Hamas, has earned the enmity of both Israel and Egypt. These shortages are the consequences of those actions. The problem - and the solution - isn't across the border, but in Gaza itself.

11 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
24/07/2013 23:25
Great idea, #9 - let's go murder the Egyptian leadership. Face it, you don't want justice, you just want to kill people since you decided already they are guilty of something. As for the Yanks posting here (#7, 8), you give hope to Orwell that he was indeed right. You are both parrotting the propaganda pretty well. Israel is totally legitimate member of the international community, there is no apartheid here (even the s africans say so), and the UN said the blockade of gaza is legal. Go cry.

12 ) southparkbear / usa
25/07/2013 01:06
what's the problem, go to swim

13 ) Sherezade / US
25/07/2013 13:59
@11 Brian maximus stupidous Cohen, the Israeli siege of Gaza is illegal. International humanitarian law prohibits starvation of civilians as a method of warfare and it is also prohibited to impose collective punishment on civilians. Lol yes you avoid the issue of Israel being illegal even according to the Bible because isn't he Messah supposed to establish the state of Israel, so tell me where is the Messiah? Trust me Brian boy we will have the last laugh and then you will cry me a river!

14 ) southparkbear / usa
25/07/2013 14:53
#12, 'starving' gaza can still feed egypt

15 ) Jan / Sweden
25/07/2013 16:00
@13 ''starvation of civilians '' You are 'aving a laugh. Gaza's street markets are awash with food. Clearly you are another one, that believes everything they read.

16 ) Mel / USA
25/07/2013 17:54
#15:Jan/Svenska: Ya.I'm "aving a laugh"when I think of 1941 &how Sweden decided to keep itself "awash with food" by building military transportation for,selling metal resources to,Nazi Germany,during the"midsummer"(1941)of Swedish treachery."Neutral" Herslow &Wigforss & 'services rendered'2 Adolf,helping his "laugh" on E.Europe eh?Or is that something "another"Swede would rather forget,takk,when defending neo-Nazi Zionism,in occupied Palestine"awash with"Arab resources!Tut,tut!

17 ) Sherezade / US
25/07/2013 18:17
@15 ) Jan / Sweden - you obviously don't understand everything you read and seriously I can't even laugh at you because I pity you. Gaza's social civil and social society was destroyed by Israel. That was the plan all along to make the people suffer but Gazans have more backbone then you spineless Zionists. They may not have the jobs and the economic structure but the world is there for them the world will be against you!

18 ) Hamid / pl
25/07/2013 20:46
@17''Gaza's social civil and social society was destroyed by Israel''. What rubbish come to Gaza and stay in one of our hotels and see for your self.

19 ) Jim Davies / Canada
25/07/2013 21:27
The attack in which 16 Egyptian soldiers were killed, if it ever happened, was never proven to be perpetrated by any Palestinian. It's much more likely it was an Israeli false flag carried out by Israeli operatives, the purpose being simply to provide a pretext for closing the tunnels

20 ) Sherezade / US
25/07/2013 22:06
@18 ) Hamid / pl - Lol your such a obvious Zionist Israeli with no working faculties in the intelligence department that's why you get caught out time and time again impersonating Palestinians shows your ashamed to be Israeli. By way fool Palestine is abbreviated PS!

21 ) Robby / USA
25/07/2013 23:19
17 ) Sherezade / US - Have you been to Gaza, or in contact with anyone actually living there? Or are you basing this solely on what you read by biased media and bloggers? From the people "on the ground" that I've conversed with life is much closer to what Hamid (18) describes.

22 ) shirleyS / australia
25/07/2013 23:37
again EGYPT plays theBUSH OBAMA Isreal starve gaza game it is illegal and awar crime to blockade GAZA and its inhabitants and tahts exactly what the military in Egypt are doing and pressure nedds to be bought on egypt and this was done to pressure pals to talks HAMAS already recognized Isreal in agreeing to 67 borders and no one will agree to support the ILLEGAL gov of abbass and talks with no mandate from palestinians most factions have demonced talks so ababss is acting like adictator

23 ) John Hamilton / United States
26/07/2013 00:23
The world is engulfed in atrocities of various kinds from colonization of lands to the exploitation of the poor to human rights abuses. In the process, the dignity of human beings is greatly undermined by those who have the power to do so. The occupation of Palestine by the racist and illegal Zionist regime epitomizes these crimes and is the greatest threat to peace and stability across the globe.

24 ) southparkbear / usa
26/07/2013 02:14
oh, finally we got a reseracher #19 going as far as elders of zion

25 ) Tom / USA
26/07/2013 02:19
It's creepy beyond surreal that a state that claims to be "Jewish" would force a people to have to dig holes in the desert to get food, medicine, or even to be able to see beloved family members. The zio-trolls that infest Maan news ought to pray for an objective moment. Justifying the craven, very UNJEWISH treatment of the people your forefathers forced out of their homes just makes you look spiritually unhinged.

26 ) Ivor Hardon / Canada
26/07/2013 12:38
@19 Got any proof and documentation for your comment?

27 ) Robby / USA
26/07/2013 17:57
26 ) Ivor Hardon / Canada - C'mon Ivor, proof isn't needed here. Especially when you want to blame Israel for something -- facts just don't matter.

28 ) Jim Davies / Canada
26/07/2013 20:58
If you Zio-trolls (they're part of the JIDF and megaphone etc crowd folks, organized Zionist efforts to swarm Palestinian news sites/blogs with Zionist bullsh*t) have any proof that the alleged attack in which killed 16 Egyptian troops were allegedly killed was committed by Palestinians please present it it here. I don't have to prove a negative. The Palestinians have no reason to attack the Egyptians. They have nothing to gain except more grief. So why on earth would they it?

29 ) Jim Davies / Canada
26/07/2013 21:05
I have to say with some satisfaction that I do find interesting how Zionists squeal when you mention false flags and ISrael in the same breath lol The Zio-trolls go apoplectic It draws them out of the woodwork like rats. These are the people that brought you The Lavon Affair, got caught posing as CIA to recruit Jundallah But they want you to think that Israel would never carry out a false flag lol That's what governments do. It's a matter of public record. Israel is no exception
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