Reverse smuggling: Now surplus consumer goods being sold to Egypt
GAZA CITY — In a reversal of more than three decades of smuggling, Palestinian
operators have been using some of the 1,500 tunnels that connect the Gaza
Strip with the Sinai Peninsula to export goods to Egypt.
said the latest flow stemmed from the flood of cheap goods sent from
Israel to the Gaza Strip since last June.
"There is an overabundance of consumer goods, and they are so cheap that
we could make a profit by selling it to the Egyptians," a Palestinian source
said. "Of course, the only way we could get it to them is through the
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The sources said that no more than 10 percent of the tunnels have been
operational since mid-2010. They cited an Egyptian crackdown as well as the
influx of Israeli products that have been cheaper than those smuggled
The export tunnels were said to be virtually the only civilian smuggling
facilities that still operate in the Gaza Strip. The sources also said
scores of tunnels have been widened to smuggle automobiles and small trucks
The sources said at least 20 tunnels were involved in the export of
Israeli goods to Egypt. They cited poultry and metal, said to garner high
demand among the Bedouins in the Sinai Peninsula.
Israel, under severe international pressure, eased its blockade in June
in wake of the bloody interception of a Turkish-flagged flotilla to the
Gaza Strip. Shipments from Israel to the Gaza Strip have nearly doubled and
now include such long-banned items such as construction materials.
The sources said Hamas controls at least 100 tunnels with some of its
Palestinian militia allies. They said these tunnels were meant for the
import of missiles, rockets and explosives from Sinai.