Good News From Gaza

In case you were beginning to despair and think all the news out of Gaza is bad, here are some items to lift your spirits.

Bulgarian security officials gave the boot last week to three Hamas officials.  They had claimed parliamentary immunity as members of the Palestinian legislature on official business, but the Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry called its Bulgarian counterpart to say the three did not represent the PA and were not on any official mission.

Hamas blamed Israel for pressuring the Sofia government and accused the PA of being a Zionist lackey. The terror group offered no evidence to back up its charges, but that’s nothing new.  It would probably blame Israel for the meteorite that exploded over Russia the other day as well as the heartbreak of psoriasis.

It is a longstanding Hamas tactic to try to discredit its Fatah rivals who run the PA of being in Israel’s pocket and failing to join their struggle to eradicate the Jewish state.

Now they’re saying the same thing about the Islamist government of Egypt under President Mohamed Morsi, a longtime Muslim Brotherhood leader and Hamas supporter.

That’s because Egypt last week flooded some — it’s not clear how many — tunnels under its border with Gaza in a campaign to shut down the smuggling operation. 

About 30 percent of all the goods that enter Gaza to avoid the Israeli blockade go through the tunnels, everything from cigarettes, medicine, clothing and cement to missiles, rockets and terrorists from Iran and elsewhere.

Reuters reporters saw one tunnel being used to bring in cement and gravel suddenly fill with water on Sunday, sending workers rushing for safety. Locals said two other tunnels were likewise flooded, with Egyptians deliberately pumping in water.”

Under former President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt helped enforce the Israeli blockade; the Morsi government has talked about lifting the blockade but, as this incident shows, in at least one respect  it is doing more to help Israel than Hamas.

“Dozens of tunnels had been destroyed since last August following the killing of 16 Egyptian soldiers in a militant attack near the Gaza fence,” Reuters reported.

Ma’an, the Palestinian agency, reported this weekend that Egyptian forces have discovered more than 225 smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Sinai border, and thinks there may be double that number.

This kind of good news doesn’t come along very often, so enjoy it while you can; there’s no telling when more might come along.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.