Posted on February 18, 2012 by Marivel Guzman in collaboration with Omar Karem
Gaza, Palestine/-Gaza in its darkest hour after the fuel stopped getting to the only electrical plant of Gaza after Israel bombed the other plants in the assault of 2008-2009.
When we talk about Tunnels in Gaza we have to talk about the Bedouins Tribes that control the Rafah border.
Before the Egyptian Revolution I have the opportunity to talk to my Egyptian friends about all themes, but one of my favorites was to talk about Palestine.
Some of my friends have this idea that most of their economical problems, and security situation is due to Palestinians crossing illegally the border.
And that the security problem is according to them to the terrorists that are financed by Iran and Hezbollah, that was the propaganda feed thru all the regimen of Mubakark that was in bed with Israel, and kept the country deprived, oppressed, with more than 2,000,000 people incarcerated for their political views, specially the then illegal Muslim brotherhood that they said was financed from Iran to destabilize the country.
Off course this idea is not shared for the majority of Egyptians, they know their own problems were created along the way, since British Empire decided to colonize these great lands of the Nile.
With this notion I have to mention also, that they do not see themselves as an Arab people but proudly they refer themselves as the Pharaoh people, some how superior race, or more intellectually advanced.
I m not sure that the tribes of Bedouins share the same idea, but for sure they are merchants that travel the deserts selling goods, and having a semi sedentary life only to raise their live stack..These same tribes now controlling the border with Gaza, where the tunnels are dug.
They control completely the entrances of the tunnels, and according to reports from CNN, after the revolution, No police dare to get closer to the Tribes and their controlled lands of the Sinai.
They control from smuggling weapons, food, medicines and fuel, And Fuel being of of the commodities that can bring more profits.
“For centuries their identity was nomadic. They roamed the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula with little care for national borders or sovereign rule. Modern life has persuaded many Bedouin to opt for a more sedentary existence in the various countries they inhabit, but they haven’t shaken their reputation as professional outlaws.
Nowhere is that reputation more pronounced than in North Sinai, where they control much of the smuggling into Gaza. Their motivation is profit, not any particular affinity with the Palestinian people.
And it’s big business.” CNN
Ibrahim, from the Sawarka tribe around El Arish, the North Sinai governate’s capital, says he “chipped in” with some partners to build five tunnels into Gaza costing about $100,000 each. The tunnels are used to transport big-ticket items such as cars, most of them these days with Libyan number plates. Ibrahim shows off his array of battered old Mercedes, Kias, even a Range Rover. Usually, he sends about 10 cars through the tunnels at a time, once or twice a week.
Salem is a friend of Ibrahim’s from the neighboring Tarabin tribe. Neither wanted to use his full name for fear of police reprisal. Salem smuggles weapons, olives, tomatoes and canned food through the tunnels into Gaza. Olives cost about $100 per carton. Animals, such as a tiger or small elephant for the Gaza zoo, cost as much as $20,000, Salem said.
“But there’s a red line,” he said. “We refuse to allow suicide bombers through the tunnels to bomb Israeli targets from the Egyptian side. And we won’t smuggle hostages,either. I was once offered $500,000 to smuggle an Israeli hostage to Islamist groups in Gaza. I refused.”
Truth is that most of the problems facing Gaza; from water, food, construction material, medical equipment and most important Fuel Supplies are due to Israel Unfair and illegal blockade of the Mediterranean Port of Gaza, and Now added to the latest punitive measures implemented for Israel, punishing the innocent population of Gaza for the Unity deal reach by the two main factions, the Price Gouging in the Egyptian fuel prices had put Gaza in its darkest moments.
Hamas and Fatah have decided to work as a team and elect their leaders in the next elections, decision that was not welcome by Israel.
A Palestine United will be a invincible force against the tactics of divide and conquer used by Israel.
The Unity will boots the mood of Palestinians and will give them a respite in this internal conflict.
The constant harassment from both of the parties in Gaza and West Bank have been a tremendous drain of energy in the fight against the occupation.
Egypt wants to stop the passage of fuel through tunnels under the border between the countries, the official Rafah terminal is not equipped for goods transfers and its development is restricted to people only by an agreement between Egypt, Israel and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority. We wonder whose interest serve this close door agreement that undermine the well being of almost 2 million people in Gaza…
The agreement still in force since 2006, after Hamas won the election in 2007, Israel and PA have tried to castigate Hamas for wining the elections; for the PA a political pressure exercised to their political enemy, and for Israel to push the PA to take back Gaza.
There is no secret that PA has been a playmate to implement most of the policies dictated by Israel, and Hamas has not.
But the internal agreements convened in Cairo and Doha has not bring benefits for Gaza, even thought the fuel is a bare necessity for Gaza to run the hospitals, schools, Official business and households is not meet yet.
As Monday the 20 of February Fuel from Egypt was yet to be transferred to Gaza despite assurances it would arrive on Sunday to alleviate an energy crisis, a power authority official said Sunday afternoon.
“The current crisis is a political problem that started six years ago. The Israeli occupation, the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to provide the Gaza Strip with funds, and the policy of Egypt which is dealing with Gaza out of security calculations, have all contributed to the current situation,” said Hamas government spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.
The constant battle for public support have pushed Hamas to put the PR campaign first, instead of the welfare of Gaza. The refusal t0 buy the Israel fuel has been the pivotal point in this electricity shortage. I m that sounds to said but, we know that Israel is the occupying power, and control what enters and don’t. Most of the deals are done behind doors, and what transpire is obvious.
If Israel control the money that enters Gaza, and Israel collect the taxes of the Palestinians society, and the money donated by the International community is obvious to assume that Israel and the Government of Gaza have their mechanism to transfer the money, the goods, and the embargo as well.
Israel ‘approved’ companies provide much of the fuel necessities of Gaza, the rest is bought, and smuggle thru the tunnels.
Last year when the European Union stop the funneling of funds to Gaza, the first blackest days started to feel in Gaza, and the deterioration of the electrical Plant due to the impossibility to import parts, and the lack of fuel to run it, put Gaza in the Dark.The only plant was providing electricity on schedule. Where only the people working for the government knew exactly when will the light will come.
Karl Schembri Photo
-Wasfi Al Nider sits motionless on a couch with his legs stretched looking at a small screen. Whenever it goes blank, it is the sign of yet another power cut hitting Gaza. But unlike the frustrations of thousands of others working on computers or watching TV, the screen the 63-year-old is looking at is connected to his blood and a kidney dialysis machine.
“Whenever there is a blackout, I’m in Allah’s hands,” Wasfi says. “The machine just stops, blood stops circulating, I just cry. Then we have to wait until the generator starts.”- A journalist Jorney
Thousands of electrical devices were ruined because the electrical unannounced cuts, if you did not have Outrage Plug Protector, you were out of luck, and your computer most probably was blown out.
The entrance of fuel thru the tunnels not never stopped completely, and the smuggling of petrol that serve the private residents also never stopped. The dark side of Gaza can be see in the belt of the refugee camps, and in the impoverished neighborhoods that can not effort generators and/or fuel.
Gaza like any other society in the world, regardless of its state of war, and blockade to the outside of the world, has it blocks of ‘Rich’ families that never have felt the blockade, at least not with full force as the rest of the population.
Gaza is comprised mostly of refugee camps, where thousands of Palestinians linger waiting for freedom, not every one enjoy the benefit of being connected to the ‘Grid’, still now thousands of families live in tents, and in half destroy homes that lit their nights with candles and if they are lucky enough to have a working person they will have little money to share electricity provided by a better accommodated neighbor that have the luxury to have a generator.
Most of the petrol that enters under the line ‘Tunnels’ comes with a stiffly tag price, not all the fuel that enters Gaza is controlled by the Government.
Gaza like any other region of the world, have their hustlers, ‘this active group’ of Palestinians that would is not deterred by the occupation, or the blockade and they find the ways to make ‘little money’ even if it means doubling the prices of the already expensive fuel prices.
This business goes both ways, in the Egyptian side and the Palestinians side in Rafah where all the tunnels are situated.
Sad as it sounds it is a reality, and Money it is the wheel that moves Gaza Society.
As I m finishing this article some developments are moving along in Gaza on the order of fuel, they received some Diesel from Egypt under a contract but not enough to satisfy the whole Gaza. They were talking of 5000 littler of diesel a day will cross to Gaza, but Gaza needs 100,000 littler of Gas at least to serve a population of almost 2,000,000.
(akashmanews.com / 22.02.2012)