Monday, November 08, 2010

Hamas Tunnels

Hamas, the flotilla, and the importing of cars into Gaza: Dry Bones cartoon.
Hamas, the flotilla, and the importing of cars into Gaza? Sometimes I use the Dry Bones cartoons to lampoon the situation and sometimes I use the cartoons to report on news that's not likely to be picked up by the main stream media. Trouble is that sometimes the news is so bizarre that you'd think that it was satirical. Today's cartoon is one of those.

Here's the story as reported by the Jerusalem Post:

"Israel has been under international pressure to ease its blockade of the Gaza Strip, especially after an attack by its commandos on an aid convoy to Gaza last May that left nine dead. Yet, even as Israel has begun to let cars and other once-prohibited goods into the Mediterranean enclave, Hamas itself hasn’t always welcomed the increased flow of goods.

Private vehicles joined the list of permitted goods last month. Since then, nine shipments have passed through the Kerem Shalom checkpoint, containing 180 new or slightly used cars.

The problem for Hamas is that it doesn’t profit from the official car imports because the taxes on the vehicles are paid to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, Hamas’ rival for control of the Palestinian territories, said Abu-Shahla. The only reason Hamas allows cars in at all, he said, was to ease pent up demand on the street and mounting criticism of the government, he said

Where it can and does collect taxes is on the vehicles and other goods smuggled through tunnels from Egypt, but the price to the consumer for these vehicles is much higher and the supply is limited. During the years that Israel banned car imports, a new, smuggled automobile -- brought in disassembled through the narrow tunnels -- could cost up to $40,000. The same car brought through Kerem Shalom now costs about $25,000." -more

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Africa News is reporting that Egypt has seized a huge shipment of arms on its way to Hamas. The stuff was to be driven through the drive-through smuggling tunnels into Gaza:

"Reports said the weapons and explosives had been transported by 16 vehicles to the huge tunnel network that spanned the Egyptian-Gaza border. The cache found on October 18 contained machine guns, grenades, mines, body armour and other equipment.

No arrests were reported. The sources said the shipment was to have been smuggled through three tunnels from Sinai to Gaza. One of the tunnels was large enough for the transport of the vehicles.

Egypt has made significant progress in the fight against weapons smuggling to the Gaza Strip. In 2010, 582 tunnels were discovered in the region, 16 of them large enough for the smuggling of cars and trucks." -more

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