Know More About Palestine

Sunday Sept. 30, 2012 5:49 PM (EST+7)
Egypt's closing of tunnels contributes to high Gaza unemployment

Read more: unemployment, economy, poverty, closure, blockade, work. labor, tunnels, Egypt-Hamas relations, Hamas-Egypt relations, Sinai

RAMALLAH, September 30 (JMCC) - The Egyptian government has been cracking down on the illicit tunnels that run into the Gaza Strip, forcing hundreds of Palestinians to lose their jobs, reports IPS.

The measure comes on top of a blockade of Gaza, imposed by Israel, that prevents the movement of people and goods and has resulted in extremely difficult economic conditions.
“Soaring unemployment is a result of systematic Israeli policies, including completely denying the Gaza labour force from the Israeli market,” says Shaheen. Palestinian labourers formerly worked in Israeli construction and labour, he says. “Palestinian workers were highly skilled in all aspects of construction.”

Jaber, father of six children, is out of farm labour, work in Israel, and any of the potential fields he is skilled at working in. “Ten years ago I worked in Israel, as a mechanic, on farms, in construction, various jobs. Since the borders closed, I haven’t had solid work, I’ve only done odd jobs but that doesn’t suffice to care for my children.”

The few jobs that remain in Gaza under siege are some of the most dangerous.

“Even though it’s dangerous work, the tunnels are a source income for unemployed workers and their families,” says PCHR’s Shaheen. “But the average daily wage has dropped from 100 or more dollars to about ten dollars.”

The risks for such a pittance are enormous. According to medics, since 2006 more than 160 Palestinians have died while working in tunnels.

“The majority were killed and injured by Israeli bombings of the tunnels, or tunnel collapse and consequent suffocation, or electrocution,” says Shaheen.

In the past two months, Egyptian authorities have been destroying and closing tunnels. Shaheen estimates that at least 150 tunnels have been totally destroyed, and another 150 shut down. “Forty thousand used to work in the tunnels. Now its 5,000 at best,” he says.

“Even children help contribute to their families’ income,” says Shaheen. “All over the Gaza Strip children are in the street trying to sell chocolates, gum, and trinkets.”







Al-Madaris St. (same building as
MBC and al-Arabiya studios)
First Floor, Al-Bireh
PO Box 4045, Ramallah
PO Box 25047, Jerusalem 97300
Phone: ++972-2-297-6555
Fax: ++972-2-297-6555
Log in to My JMCC
 or Sign Up
Forgot your password?Close
Front Page
My Comments Photo of the Day
Calendar Hot Spot(for journalists)
Audio of the Day Video of the Day
Most Popular Historical Timeline
Noticeboard Blogs
My Tags Help Desk
User Info
First Name
Last Name
My Tags 
I am a
After signing up,you will receive
an automatically
generated password in your
Recover Password
Submit Your Email
 or Sign Up