Cartografia crítica de la ciudad dividida de Rafah en la frontera de Egipto y Gaza, donde un sistema clandestino de tuneles constituye una parte de la linea de la vida para 1,5 millones de palestinos sometidos a un bloqueo y asedio brutal.
When Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, the city of Rafah was suddenly split, between Egypt and Gaza, by an immense metal and concrete wall. Families found themselves divided by a high-security international border, though their houses often lay less than 100m apart.
Before long, influential families moved their business underground, through dozens of secret tunnels burrowed below the Israeli border fence.
Everything moves through Rafah’s tunnels: from cigarettes and drugs to cash and people. It is a vast enterprise, and pays five times an average annual Gaza salary in one month. It is a family business, passed on from father to son and alw... [Extend]
FOR MANY THE NAME Rafah evokes an image of poverty and despair. It has been called the last city of Gaza, "the place at the end of the world". Once the entry and exit point to Palestine from Egypt, the city suffered tremendous hardship during nearly four decades of Israeli occupation.
It was mainly only aid workers, solidarity volunteers and journalists that ventured to the town. Most Palestinians have never been to Rafah, nor are they likely to go there, it is too far and too isolated and, in any case, most are not allowed to cross the Israeli corridor from the West Bank to get there. But on 25 November 2005, good news finally came to Rafah and that date will henceforth be marked as the one on which the first modern Palestinian border-crossing was opened. For the... [Extend]
The Hamas party in Gaza was able to put some dents into the Israeli mechanism of exploitation. By breaking through the fence to Rafah in early 2008, and later by importing goods from Egypt via underground tunnels to supplement the diet of beleaguered Gazans under siege, Hamas has been able to smuggle goods into the Gaza Strip without paying customs to Israel. The goods, coming from Egyptian merchants, have become an unofficial import channel into the Israeli-controlled customs envelope, a channel through which Israeli foreign currency escapes (because Egyptian merchants are paid by Gazans, with Israeli currency, which is then exchanged for foreign currency from the Central Bank of Israel). [Extend]