After years of a so-called Israeli ‘siege’ against Gaza, in the last weeks, residents of Gaza are dealing with an Egyptian ‘siege’ due to the wide-scale military operation against terror infrastructures in Sinai and against the smuggling between Gaza to the peninsula. “The reality we were used to has changed completely. Life was always hard, but now it is almost unbearable,” one resident said.
Note: All photos here are of Gaza under the Israeli ‘siege’
The crisis between Hamas and the new regime in Egypt is worsening: in Egypt there is no intention in the mean time to scale down on the military operation in Sinai, which started after the toppling of the Muslim Brotherhood regime.
The Egyptians accuse Hamas of collaborating with jihadi elements operating in the peninsula, and the foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, declared that if the need arises the Egyptian army will use military force against the Gaza Strip. Military sources even said that a target list for Gaza was drawn up to allow an aerial attack.
The Egyptian activity is mostly focused on the smuggling between the strip and the Sinai peninsula, which is part of the struggle against the Hamas movement. According to reports, 95% of the tunnels are not functioning today.
“The smuggling has almost completely stopped and the prices of the products that go through the tunnels have skyrocketed”, says Hamdan Abdallah, a resident of the Gazan part of Rafah, in a conversation with NRG. He told me a liter of fuel costs more than seven shekels today, as apposed to three shekels before the military operation. [That’s the price Israelis pay. – EoZ]
Abdallah even has some good words for Israel. “For years we were complaining about the Israeli siege of Gaza, but now it is the only one which lets in food and fuel through the Kerem Shalom crossing”, he said. “Egypt has almost completely closed the Rafah crossing, which used to be the life line for the residents here. It’s a one-way door. You can only enter Gaza. Exiting it is very difficult, it’s almost an impossible mission”.
A Rafah resident who preferred to stay anonymous said he couldn’t understand why the residents of the strip of all people had to pay the price for the actions of radical groups. “The Egyptian security forces are dealing with armed groups in Sinai, and they also blame Hamas for collaborating with them.
This may be true, but the question is why do we the residents have to pay the price. But that’s the way it is, we’ve gotten used to it – when there are troubles in the world it’s the Palestinians who are responsible for them, and it’s they who are punished”, he said sadly.