Why Do Gazan Tunnel-Diggers Talk to Reporters?

INSERT DESCRIPTIONA Palestinian in a tunnel between Gaza and Egypt. (Photo: Moises Saman/The New York Times)

A pair of recent articles — one in The New York Times and the other, a McClatchy report, in The Seattle Times — describe in close-up detail how Palestinians living in Gaza have gotten back to work digging tunnels that lead into Egypt. These tunnels, through which weapons and all other sorts of goods are smuggled, were one of the main targets of the recent Israeli assault on Gaza.

I understand why the Gazan tunnel diggers have gotten back to work. What I can’t understand is why they so openly describe and show this work to reporters working for American newspapers.

What is the upside in admitting it? Why publicize a secret activity that your enemy has sworn to punish? If I had just gotten out of jail for a certain crime, I wouldn’t invite a reporter to accompany me on my rounds as I tried to re-establish my criminal enterprise.

So what are the Gazans thinking? What are they trying to accomplish? To whom are they trying to send their strong signal of resistance? And what will be the ramifications?


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  1. Eric M. Jones says:

    Why show pictures of tunnels?

    Aren’t people proud of their works? Aren’t people especially proud of their works that are used for war? The tunnels are the best weapons they have to brag about. The US and Israelis show pictures of their airplanes, the Gazans show their holes in the ground. That’s the best they can do.

    A terrorist is one who has a bomb but no air force.

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  2. galie says:

    Many blames Gazans for their own fate… Is the alternative the West Bank? Loosing pockets of land day after day to new settlements…
    In WWII France faced the same dilemma to German occupation… resist or concede?. Concede will bring far less deaths on any war… but many feel they will feel “dead” on the inside. It amazes me many have problem understanding the importance of the sense of injustice.

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  3. Ms says:

    Could it be that they are advertising their services? Tunnel #38 now open for business!

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  4. bystander says:

    The blinkered comments of many Israeli apologists never cease to amaze me. You listen to these people and get a sense that they are as pure as the driven snow, constantly reaching out the hand of peace to an ungrateful and aggressive neighbour. The weird bewilderment with which many Israelis regard Palestinian anger is plain annoying. Do these people really truly think there is no legitimacy to Palestinian grievances? A thousand innocent Palestinian civilians killed yet Israel is congratulated for their morality in not ‘targeting’ civilians… hmm

    Interesting the way you analogise these tunnel builders with criminals.

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  5. david says:

    I guess I need a history lesson. Before the 1967 war, Gaza was part of Egypt and the West Bank was part of Jordan. When Egypt got the Sinai back, why didn’t they get Gaza? Why isn’t the West Bank, or at least most of it part of Jordan now?

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  6. Victor Grauer says:

    Well, why did the New York Times publish, on the front page, no less, their observations on how easy it would be for a terrorist to flood the New York subway system? Not only did they mention this possibility, they presented an extremely clever and detailed scenario for how such a thing could be accomplished. Why does the US media regularly report, in alarming detail, on the weaknesses they’ve found in our airport security systems? We live in an age when people have forgotten to think through the consequences of their actions. In case you hadn’t noticed.

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  7. Matthew R. says:

    This is the only way Gazans can take pride. What else have Gazans accomplished except build those tunnels? Perhaps if their “government” spent a little more on education and a little less on rockets to provoke Israel,

    The events of the past few months leads me to believe that the Israeli government cares more for the Gazan population than Hamas does.

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  8. JoelP says:

    “I guess I need a history lesson. Before the 1967 war, Gaza was part of Egypt and the West Bank was part of Jordan. When Egypt got the Sinai back, why didn’t they get Gaza? Why isn’t the West Bank, or at least most of it part of Jordan now?”

    Well, the two answers are slightly different. Israel offered Gaza to Egypt, but Egypt had no desire to be destabilized by admitting in so many terrorists.
    The West Bank, on the other hand, is very closely tied into Israel. It is difficult for anyone to say which lands there are Muslim and which are Jewish (though that is becoming easier).

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