Fri Mar 8, 2013 3:4AM
Egypt’s destruction of tunnels coming from the Gaza Strip is causing serious harm to the economy of the besieged enclave. The construction sector, an important sector in Gaza, provides the bulk of its materials to Egypt through these tunnels.
Egypt’s destruction of underground tunnels between the southern Gaza Strip with Egypt is harming the economy of the besieged territory, specifically its construction business. Many building projects have stopped due to the lack of building materials most of which are supplied into the Gaza Strip through the same tunnels. Building materials are badly needed to address population growth, maintenance and repair to reverse the degradation of public and private infrastructure which has occurred under the Israeli blockade and wars. Prices of cement have doubled in recent weeks due to the acute shortage in building supplies after the destruction of tunnels. Israel allows limited supplies of building materials to some U.N projects in Gaza. In late February Kerem Shalom Gaza’s only commercial crossing was closed for eight days by Israel citing security reasons. In recent years Israel permanently closed three commercial crossing with Gaza. According to merchants, tunnels used to facilitate supplies of almost eighty percent of Gaza’s construction materials. Closure of some of the tunnels has exacerbated an existing housing crisis in the tiny coastal enclave. Many in Gaza cannot afford to buy new homes or repair the existing ones due to the sharp increase in the price of construction materials. With the suffocating Israeli blockade and Egypt’s crackdown on tunnels it remains to be seen if Gaza’s housing problems will be solved anytime soon. Experts believe that Israeli blockade must be fully lifted and that all crossings must be opened for the construction business to function normally. Ashraf Shannon, Press TV, Gaza