Humanitarian Crisis Worsening Amid Gaza Blockade

Egypt's Tunnel Demolitions Have Destroyed Private Sector

UN officials are expressing concern about a worsening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, as Egypt has virtually halted commerce with them since the summer coup d’etat.

During President Mohamed Morsi’s rule in Egypt, trade with Gaza was growing, but since the coup not only has official trade dried up, but the junta has destroyed hundreds of smuggling tunnels, leaving Gaza’s private sector unable to acquire goods from abroad.

Even before the Egyptian revolution, the nation was often a fall-back source for goods during the Israeli blockade of Gaza. As the junta has cracked down, Israel has upped its own allowing of humanitarian supplies in a bit, but not nearly so much as was lost through the underground trade with Egypt.

One year ago Israel was on the verge of invading Gaza, as it is wont to do from time to time, and after a ceasefire was reached there was hope that Gaza would see significant new contact with the outside world. Today, it seems that the situation is worse than it was then, with little reason to hope for near term improvements.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.