That was when Israel was trucking in tons of goods and the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza was open.
Well, Israel is still trucking food, medicine, clothing, construction materials and other supplies into Gaza. Last week, September 8-14, Israel sent 1,428 trucks carrying 38,545 tons of goods into the Palestinian enclave. So what’s changed? Egypt is cracking down on Gaza, that’s what.
Then how come you don’t hear much about the suffering of Gaza residents? Because it can’t be blamed on Israel.
IRIN, the Integrated Regional Information Networks, describes itself as an editorially independent, non-profit project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). On September 17, IRIN reported:
Residents and officials in Gaza say the repeated closures of the border crossing into Egypt, a key lifeline for Palestinians in the occupied territories, is destroying livelihoods, harming health and lowering basic living conditions.
The border crossing at Rafah has now been closed for seven consecutive days - the second sustained closure in the past few weeks - following instability in the Sinai region on the Egyptian side of the border.
A reopening is promised tomorrow, Wednesday, but the closures, reduced operating hours and the crackdown on smuggling tunnels are squeezing the country’s most important supply line.
The closures, along with the large-scale destruction of smuggling tunnels that were a major supply route into Gaza, are leading to shortages and higher prices for basic goods.
CHA estimates that fewer than 10 tunnels are operational, down from 50 in previous weeks and 300 before June [when demonstrations erupted in Egypt, culminating in the removal of President Mohamed Morsi].
So, Egypt –which is not trucking supplies into Gaza– closes the Rafah crossing and shuts down the smuggling tunnels that are “necessary for survival”. Naturally you’ve read about this in The New York Times and the Huffington Post. No?
Ahram Online, the Egyptian news Web site, reported on statements by Ahmed Ali, spokesman for the Egyptian Armed Forces:
According to Ali, the army has arrested around 309 militants and confiscated a number of munitions, including mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.
He added that some of the confiscated hand grenades bear the stamp of Al-Qassam brigades –the militant wing of Gaza’s Islamist ruling party Hamas.
“Hamas is also responsible for securing the borders,” said Ali, who added that houses placed on the border with the Gaza strip are a threat to national security.
Ali stated that while no buffer zone has been declared between Sinai and Gaza yet, the army is securing a distance of between 500 meters and 1 kilometer at the border.
Gaza exports terrorism and terrorists to Egypt and Egypt cracks down. Egypt destroys smuggling tunnels, closes the crossing, and secures territory on the border. Naturally, human rights activists around the world are planning large-scale demonstrations and setting off on their protest ships. No?
The Arab press, Jewish and Israeli media have covered this story. To their credit, there has been some reporting on this subject by United Press International but it has not been picked up by most of the popular press which has given it precious little attention.
When Israel tries to protect its citizens from thousands of rockets, missiles and terrorist attacks from Gaza, there’s a hue and cry, outrage and indignation. When Egypt responds to terrorism in the Sinai… Where are the protests? Where are the flotillas? And for heaven’s sake, where’s the coverage?
Setting sail for Egypt? Don’t hold your breath.
(1) There is little western coverage because the situation is nuanced and the west prefers the good vs. evil narrative. Whereas with the present situation between Gaza and Egypt it is hard to assign which is which: both bad, both good.