For years, a harsh Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip was always mitigated by smuggling through Egypt. It is a testament to just how hostile the new junta in Egypt is toward Hamas, however, that the Gazans are now turning to Israel for help.
Gaza’s entire economy has centered on smuggling tunnels into Sinai, to the point that there was actually an economic bubble created around investment in digging new tunnels for awhile. Since the coup earlier this month, Egypt has cracked down on Sinai, and has destroyed an estimated 80 percent of Gaza’s import capacity.
It’s not all iPods and cars, either. For years using the tunnels was so much more convenient than Israel’s crossings that even vital goods were coming in that way, including a lot of food and fuel. All that’s being cut off.
Israel’s already increased the amount of aid that enters Gaza over the past couple of weeks, and is said to be preparing to dramatically increase the amount of fuel allowed in through the crossings to prevent a crisis.
Though Israel admitted to “counting calories” during the worst of their own anti-Gaza blockade, they always had to keep at least a bare minimum level of aid in to prevent mass starvation and the diplomatic backlash that would’ve caused. Egypt’s junta seems to feel no obligations in that regard, meaning the Gazans are rapidly returning to the bad-old-days when the only goods in were that bare minimum Israel saw fit to allow them.