Gaza Millionaires

Journalist and political analyst Khaled Abu Toameh has an interesting article in the Gatestone Institute which partly dispels the notion that the Gaza Strip has faced a humanitarian crisis on par with Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Somalia, Haiti, North Korea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Israeli and Egyptian governments imposed a blockade on Gaza following Hamas’s violent takeover of the coastal territory in 2007. Many in the international community have disputed the legality of the controversial blockade, although a United Nations report in 2011 claimed it was lawful.

Apart from smuggling medicine and fuel, some Gazans have profited enormously from collecting both illicit and licit merchandise. The Palestine Press News Agency reported that about 600 out of the 1.4 million Gazans are now millionaires.

This lucrative industry faces severe setbacks after the brutal attack in Sinai earlier this month in which unknown Islamist militants killed sixteen Egyptian soldiers. Hamas – fearful of further agitating its ideological ally – has agreed to stop smuggling within its border if Egypt reopens the Rafah crossing. On August 25, Egypt reopened the crossing and at least 120 tunnels connecting Gaza and Sinai have been destroyed.

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