The sources said the Gaza exports have been tolerated by the new
military-led regime in Cairo. They said the exports were comprised of
civilian goods and replenishing stocks in Bedouin communities in Sinai.
"The goods sent to Egypt are of a much higher quality than what they
have there," the source said. "The Egyptian government doesn't like it, but
is not doing much to stop this."
The sources said Palestinian merchants were sending such products as
food, clothes, construction and electric tools, automobile parts as well as
agricultural equipment to Egypt. They said much of the equipment was bought
in Israel with Western donor funds allocated to the Gaza Strip.
By December, the merchants were reporting increasing demand for
Israeli and Palestinian imports from the Gaza Strip. The sources said the
smuggled goods were priced for the inexpensive Egyptian market.
A key Gaza export sector has been dairy products. The sources said milk,
cheese, eggs and poultry were being smuggled to Sinai on a daily basis.
The sources said the Gaza exports did not require the construction of
additional tunnels. They said the exports, however, forced Sinai smugglers
to employ additional
personnel to remove and load goods from the tunnels.
Some Palestinians were also exporting steel, aluminum and copper to
Sinai. They said Egyptian authorities have seized some shipments, but were
largely ignoring the trade after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.