Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories
Ordinary women and men, wearing plastic bags on their feet, pulling pants up to knee level, clutch their children to their chests and roam along a 110-metre dark tunnel of sewage to cross from the Israeli-occupied West Bank to East Jerusalem.
Erected under a barrier that Israel is building in the West Bank in defiance of a World Court ruling, the tunnel serves as a gateway connecting Palestinians from the West Bank to East Jerusalem, a centre for medical, social, religious and other services for the Palestinians.
The passage goes from the village of Old Beit Hanina in the West Bank to the area also called Beit Hanina in what Israel has annexed as part of its Jerusalem municipality. It was first used in early 2004, locals say, when Israel erected the barrier between the two Beit Haninas. What was originally essentially one village became physically divided in two. The tunnel was last used during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in late September by people anxious to visit family or to pray in Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque. Israel restricts entry for Palestinians to the city. Since then Israel has blocked off the passage — not for the first time.
Scenes of people’s legs sinking up to the knee in sewage are depicted in ”Journey 110″ by Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar, who spent six hours capturing the 12-minute-long clip last year.
By: Suhaib Salem
When you walk inside the border area between Gaza Strip and Egypt, the first thing you see are hundreds of tunnels, used by smugglers to bring goods into the Gaza Strip. Building any tunnel is a hard task that requires precise care. Tunnel smugglers need to supply the underground passageway with electricity, air and a telecommunications unit.
Working underground is like living on another planet. Going down inside one of these tunnels is a very terrifying venture. Darkness fills the entire tunnel, which runs deep and long. Some small lamps are hung to light the way, cables lie on the ground and intercoms connect one side of the border to the other. These intercoms are used by the smugglers to enable the one who based on the Egyptian side to contact his colleague on the Palestinian side. After walking a few steps inside the tunnel, you hear humming from neighboring smugglers digging their own tunnels. Sometimes one tunnel breaches the wall of its neighbor, putting both in danger of collapse. Different types of tunnels are used for certain tasks. The food smuggling tunnel differs from the tunnel used for smuggling cattle or animals.
Apart from the first shipment of cement this week, only a few goods trickle in to Gaza through checkpoints.
Gazans manage by taking advantage of the few things that are readily available–smuggling tunnels and their own ingenuity, both for better and worse. Here are a couple of the most notable stories I’ve seen this week on how the people of Gaza are carrying on these days.