Let’s talk about tunnels.
Since the latest excuse for the current Israeli assault on Gaza is the tunnels, let’s talk about the tunnels. Let’s talk about a population of 1.8 million people in a 140 square mile zone who cannot leave via land, air, or sea. Let’s talk about a place where outsiders are not allowed in. Let’s talk about a place where farmers and fisherfolk cannot get their wares outside the perimeters for sale, and strawberries and watermelons rot awaiting passage. Let’s talk about a place where basic goods cannot be brought in; sometimes cloth, sometimes concrete, sometimes medication. Where fuel is (over)priced and allocated by the very same force that controls the entrances and exits to the territory, allocated at such small amounts that electricity is never available all the time, and during times of acute crisis is only available a few hours a day. Where my friend, now an American citizen, couldn’t enter for his brothers’ weddings. Where the unemployment rate is at 60%, and even government employees have their pay frozen by foreign powers who don’t like the current ruling party.
Let’s talk about people with sumud (steadfastness), who have lived in this situation for over 60 years, increasingly awful for the last 7. These people can die, or they can dig. Tunnels represent a literal underground lifeline for Palestinians. The light at the end of the tunnel has been used to smuggle goods, livestock, people; my friend did get to the weddings, because he entered through the tunnels.
If you lived in Gaza, would you wither or would you build tunnels? And when the screws were tightened even further, elevating the usual mostly starvation style of violence into epic bursts of bombing flattening whole neighborhoods and their inhabitants, would the idea of using those tunnels for weaponry cross your mind? We ask amazing feats of sacrifice from Palestinians, and amazingly, most deliver: we ask that they bear their wrongful imprisonment in silence and peace. The tunnels are still primarily used for civilian purposes, or would be, if they aren’t all destroyed. So let’s talk about tunnels, and why they are there in the first place; then let’s talk about destroying the tunnels by opening the fences.