Susan Taylor Martin on the impact of smuggling tunnels on Gaza's economy11/17/10 Robert Lorei
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Our guest, St. Petersburg Times reporter Susan Taylor Martin recently visited Gaza and she wrote:
"It has been nearly two years since Israel destroyed thousands of homes, schools and other buildings in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip during a three-week war to stop rocket attacks on Israeli cities. Although Israel has slightly relaxed its blockade of Gaza, cement is among the many items still not legally allowed into the area except under rare circumstances.
"Hence the tunnels or, as Gazans call them, 'underground crossing points.'
"The Israeli government imposed the restrictions in 2007 to drive Hamas from power or, alternatively, force it to recognize Israel, foreswear violence and release a captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.
"None of that has happened. And while the blockade has hurt Gaza's 1.5 million people, there is a growing sense it is helping Hamas."