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Gaza Smugglers Import New Cars

Gaza businessmen are now importing new cars - but the price tag comes with a hefty commission for the tunnel smugglers who bring them in.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 4/8/2010, 12:30 PM / Last Update: 4/8/2010, 1:30 PM

Flash 90

Gaza businessmen are now importing new cars - but the price tag comes with a hefty commission for the tunnel smugglers who bring them in through the rocky and sometimes dangerous underground network.

Mobile phone footage obtained by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) this week showed conclusive proof of tunneling operations so advanced that entire cars are being imported deep under ground, unscathed, into Gaza.

The footage was filmed in a tunnel 6.5 feet high and 10 feet wide, bolstered by wooden supports, located under the border between Gaza and Egypt. It showed a bulldozer pulling a shining new car through roughly-cut walls, with dirt falling from the ceiling on to the satiny-smooth surface of the hood as it moved through the tunnel.

It looked like one of the smaller subway tunnels in New York City.

The BBC report tried to portray Israel as the villain, quoting Gaza City businessman Ahmed Bahloul saying that he wanted a new car, “but because of Israel's blockade, the only way I could get it is through the tunnels.”

BBC Failed to Note...
The British news service explained, “For the past three years, Israel has enforced a tightened economic blockade on Gaza, only allowing in limited humanitarian aid.” It failed to note that even at the height of Israel's war against the ruling Hamas terrorists who for years fired thousands of deadly rocket attacks at southern Israeli civilians, the Jewish State allowed daily deliveries of tons of humanitarian aid into the region, often at the expense of Israel's security.

The report also did not mention that Israel's crossings with Gaza are opened daily for deliveries of tons of humanitarian aid, in addition to passage of Gaza medical patients into Israel, and traffic of nongovermental organization staff both in and out of the region.

It did note, though, that “Egypt has also closed its border with Gaza, only opening it occasionally.”

The report noted that Bahloul's shiny new car cost $28,000, with an additional “surcharge” of $10,000 for the tunnel operators (read: smugglers) – a fee that the “successful businessman who owns a car garage” gladly paid, and was clearly able to pay, despite ongoing complaints about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza – in order to have his brand new car.

"It's a lot of money, but I wanted a new car,” Bahloul commented. At least 200 such cars have been brought in to Gaza through the tunnels in the past three years, both before and after Israel's counter terrorist Operation Cast Lead, which allegedly crippled the region's economy.