Boom Times for Gaza Smugglers

Israel allows weapons, food, medicine, people to enter from Egypt
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2007 5:59 AM CST
This photo made available by the Israel Defense Forces Thursday, Nov. 1, 2007 shows a soldier looking over the entrance to a tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip. According to the army, troops discovered...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Gazan smugglers are doing land-office business since Israel blocked trade to the tiny strip, the Economist reports. Munitions, food, cigarettes—even a top seller, Viagra—are all being shuttled in full view of Israeli authorities. Why the free pass from Egypt to Gaza? The “reason for Israel’s forbearance” is unclear, reports the UK mag.

The smugglers work in plain view: First, a digger burrows a hole near the border wall; then traffickers map a tunnel with help from Google Earth. Cans of goods, and even people, are dragged down lit corridors into makeshift camps on the Gaza side. Israel, which bombed such tunnels only last year, is suddenly quiet, and Egypt blames limits on its Sinai troops for allowing the smuggling.