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Friday, October 23, 2009

The Middle East's new shopping mecca

You've all been told that it's (one of) the most densely populated areas in the world, that its people are starving, penniless and jobless, that they live in constant darkness because there are no functioning power plants and that they have no bread to eat.

All you have been told is lies. Here's the truth: In the finest traditions of Harmon Cove in New Jersey and Gurnee Mills in Illinois, Gaza has become... a shopping mecca.

Dusty sacks filled with cans of Coca-Cola were being loaded onto trucks by young boys, headed for supermarkets in Gaza City. Thousands of motorcycles were lined up on display in a nearby stadium, ranging in price from $2,000 to $10,000.

At Nijma market, refrigerators, flat-screen televisions, microwaves, air-conditioners, generators and ovens filled the tents, all at inflated prices, having been spirited into this town on the border with Egypt through tunnels under the sand. Some Gazans have even purchased cars smuggled in parts into the isolated Palestinian enclave.


Osama started out as a day laborer, digging tunnels from the age of 16. He graduated to running drugs and TNT through the tunnels into Gaza. Though he is a supporter of Fatah, the secular rival of Hamas, he says he supplied both parties. He was young but intimidating enough. He says he used to eat in restaurants in Gaza City and leave without paying. “Now it is different,” he said. “We fear Hamas.”

For the same reason he no longer smuggles drugs or weapons, though the money he made from that illicit trade helped set him up in legitimate business. He says that each of his three tunnels cost about $300,000 to build, and that four friends helped him finance the enterprise.

By night he brings in live animals, motorcycles, potato chips, Coca-Cola and clothing for women and children. But the most lucrative import is fuel, which he pumps through a pipe fixed on the ceiling of a tunnel more than half a mile long and collects in a large tank on the Palestinian side. Like any smart businessman, Osama does most of his pumping after Israel has blocked fuel supplies from its side or has bombed a few competing tunnels, lifting prices in Gaza.

The tunnel owners, Gaza’s nouveau riche, say they make on average more than $1 million a year from each tunnel.
Real poor, aren't they?

Exit question: How come Richard Richard Goldstone wasn't shown this or didn't mention it?


At 2:58 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its revealing what the Palestinians can do when they stop resorting to terror... they can build a better life for themselves. The only question is if their leaders are willing to acknowledge that hard work brings their own people greater rewards than killing the infidel Jews.

At 3:23 AM, Blogger Joe said...


Wouldn't it reflect bad on Israel if people assumed that tunnels are the only source of receiving products in Gaza?


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