So the great concentration camp of Gaza has plenty of buyers for smuggled and stolen cars. I wonder if you can order your color and trim options...
From The New York Times August 14 by David D. Kirkpatrick
Smuggling in North Sinai Surges as the Police Vanish
RAFAH, Egypt — The smuggler’s car lot is so brazenly out in the open, it is hard to tell that the business is actually illegal.
Cars are driven from the chaos in Libya to this small patch of sand amid the fig trees in the North Sinai desert, where Palestinians can pick out their model and haggle over the price. Then they wait in Gaza for delivery through tunnels snaking beneath the border.
The police have all but disappeared from the northern Sinai since the Egyptian revolution, and the smuggling business has grown so exponentially that Hamas, the militant group controlling Gaza, recently decided to limit the car imports to 30 a week for fear of pollution and traffic congestion in the narrow Mediterranean enclave, smugglers say.
“There are no police around to check,” one smuggler said as a white Hyundai Tucson with Libyan plates pulled into the lot.
As law enforcement returns elsewhere in Egypt six months after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, there is still almost no sign of the police in Bedouin-dominated North Sinai, the region along the border with Israel that has long been a center of criminal activity. Mr. Mubarak treated it as virtual enemy territory and flooded it with police officers as he sought to help enforce an Israeli blockade of Gaza.
And now the withdrawal of his security forces has unleashed not only a smuggling bonanza but also a more violent backlash against his Israel policy. Six unexplained bombing attacks (the first one failed to go off) have repeatedly shut down a pipeline that delivers natural gas to Israel under a Mubarak-era contract that is wildly unpopular because of its association with both Israel and corruption. The interruption of the gas supply has done as much as any formal policy change to strain relations between the two allies. No one has been arrested in any of the attacks.
The Egyptian military announced over the weekend that it was deploying more troops to the border region to help with security, but Bedouin around Rafah said Monday that they had noticed no change.
And nowhere is the breakdown in law and order more evident than in the car business, where the steady supply of inventory from the equally lawless border with Libya more than 600 miles away has provided another unexpected boon of the Arab Spring. Until Hamas began to slow the flow last month, as many as 250 cars a week went through the tunnels...
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