The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Egypt Fouls the Gaza Tunnels

First came reports that Egypt had flooded the Gaza tunnel network with water; then last week, the NYT updated the story with a nasty new detail:

“Awful,” said Abu Mutair Shalouf, 35, a Palestinian smuggler on the Gaza side, watching workers haul buckets of sewage-soaked soil from the shaft of a tunnel flooded by the Egyptian military 15 days ago. “I don’t know why they did this.”

The NYT cites a range of interpretations of the message the Brotherhood is trying to send here. Some think it’s trying to prove its utility as a U.S. ally while an aid package for Egypt is stalled in Congress. Others think it’s signaling that Gaza is Israel’s responsibility, not Egypt’s. Still others think it’s a message from Egypt’s generals that they operate independently of the Brotherhood’s wishes.

Whatever the message, Hamas is responding amenably for now. In response to the sewage flood, one Hamas official said, “Egypt is a state of sovereignty and we do not impose on it anything.”

Published on February 25, 2013 9:00 am