According to Jonathan Ferziger writing on Bloomberg.com,
Investment opportunities are rare in the Gaza Strip. So when Nabila Ghabin saw one last year, she pawned her car and jewelry and put $12,000 into a network of tunnels that brought in supplies smuggled from Egypt.
She was one of about 4,000 Gazans who gave cash to middlemen and tunnel operators in 2008 as Israel blocked the overland passage of goods. Then Israeli warplanes bombed the tunnels before and during the Dec. 27 to Jan. 18 Gaza offensive and the investments collapsed.No, this isn't an April Fools' day story. It's legitimate.
The report continues,
Now investors, who lost as much as $500 million, want their money back from Hamas, which runs Gaza. Hamas Economics Minister Ziad Zaza says about 200 people were taken into custody in connection with the tunnel investments; most have been released. Hamas is offering a partial repayment of 16.5 cents on the dollar using money recovered from Ihab al-Kurd, the biggest tunnel operator.And who is Hamas's Madoff? According to investment victim Nabila Ghabin,
“The imam told us that we wouldn’t regret joining this blessed business,” she said in her apartment in an unfinished 12-story high-rise overlooking the Mediterranean as her husband played the lute. “This happened in mosques all over Gaza.”I for one, hope the "collapse" of the tunnel market bankrupts every last one of these clowns.
Read the full story: Hamas Finds Gaza Tunnels' $500 Million Loss Worse Than Madoff.
Stephen M. Flatow