National Geographic : 2012 Dec
wanted to keep the tunnel economy under their control. When that didn't end the smuggling, Israel later expanded the demolitions, creating a bu er zone between the border and the city. According to Human Rights Watch, some 1,700 homes were destroyed from 2000 to 2004. Gaza's tunnels became imprinted on the Is- raeli public consciousness in 2006, when a group of Hamas-a liated militants emerged in Israel near a border crossing and abducted Cpl. Gilad Shalit. Shalit became the embodiment of a ceaseless war, his face staring out from roadside billboards much like the faces on martyrdom posters that adorn the walls in Jabalia and the other camps. (He was nally released in a pris- oner exchange in the fall of 2011.) A er Hamas won elections in 2006, it and Fatah fought a vicious civil war---which Hamas won the next year, taking control of the Gaza Strip---and Israel introduced an incrementally tightening economic blockade. It closed ports of entry and banned the importation of nearly everything that would have allowed Gazans to live above a subsistence level. Egypt cooperated. Since Hosni Mubarak's departure in early 2011, Egyptian o cials have expressed remorse for cooperating with Israel. Egypt has reopened the small Rafah border crossing, though it still prevents some Gazans from coming through. Its new president, Mohamed Morsi, who wants to keep Hamas at a distance, has not pledged to help Gaza in a way that many Gazans had hoped BOXES OF COOKING OIL from Egypt---an essential item in Gazan homes---are stacked at the covered entrance to a tunnel in Rafah. Construction materials such as cement, steel bars, and gravel make up the greatest volume of tunnel imports.