Rafah’s nicest tunnel: Siege meets surf in Gaza

on 7 Comments

The Sea Huts are a coastal resort in Rafah, Palestine, a kilometer from the Egyptian border.

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(Photo: Joe Catron)

Despite Israel’s crippling siege of the Gaza Strip, the hotel’s proprietors have engineered a solution to every need for their establishment, with the possible exception of paying customers.

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(Photo: Joe Catron)

Because of the difficulty of importing building materials, the detached apartments, as well as the sculptures surrounding them, have been sculpted almost entirely from local clay.

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(Photo: Joe Catron)
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(Photo: Joe Catron)

Many of the sculptures serve practical purposes. This whale, for example, stores an assortment of hookahs and other shisha paraphernalia.

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(Photo: Joe Catron)

Another one conceals the entrance to a tunnel, from which much of the clay used in the resort’s construction was extracted.

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(Photo: Joe Catron)
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(Photo: Joe Catron)

The tunnel’s design is conventional, if unusually spacious and well-lit.

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(Photo: Joe Catron)
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(Photo: Joe Catron)

But unlike most in Rafah, it leads to the beach only meters away.

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(Photo: Joe Catron)
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(Photo: Joe Catron)
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(Photo: Joe Catron)


About Joe Catron

Joe Catron is a US activist in Gaza, Palestine, where he works with Palestinian groups and international solidarity networks, particularly in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and prisoners' movements. He co-edited The Prisoners' Diaries: Palestinian Voices from the Israeli Gulag, an anthology of accounts by detainees freed in the 2011 prisoner exchange, blogs at joecatron.wordpress.com and tweets at @jncatron.

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7 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    May 25, 2012, 6:34 pm


  2. seafoid
    May 25, 2012, 6:43 pm


    You must find the whole situation absurd . there was a video last year of a viva Palestina convoy arriving in Gaza and it was so striking to see how the failure of politics can betray a whole people. They don’t celebrate the arrival of trucks of food in Rafah in Sinai but across the border in Gaza they do. All because of Zionism. The Zionist space has 6 castes

    Ashkenazi Jews
    Mizrahi Jews
    1948 Palestinians
    East Jerusalem Palestinians
    West Bank Palestinians

    And the Gazans are right at the bottom.

    so many decent people forced to live in a senseless system.

  3. mudder
    May 26, 2012, 9:23 am

    beauty amidst suffering.

  4. Blake
    May 26, 2012, 9:42 am

    Quoting Uri Avnery: “The best solution is to reintegrate Palestinians, a great people with tremendous commercial and economic skills, into Israel.”

    • Avi_G.
      May 26, 2012, 12:21 pm

      Integration means that Palestinians will lose their heritage, culture and language.

      A good example of that is how Israel has changed Palestinians west of the Green Line. Already, Palestinians west of the Green Line have absorbed the Hebrew language into their daily vocabulary, so much so that when they speak Arabic among themselves, every third or fourth word is in Hebrew. And they are forced to do so because the economic power (i.e. jobs) rests in the hands of the Jewish majority. Meanwhile, Jews in Israel do not bother learning Arabic or speaking the language.

      Except for Palestinian intellectuals, the masses now lack the basic knowledge of their own history. They learn about Zionist history through the Jewish-run school system. And whereas previous generations of Palestinians in Israel had the personal memories and experiences of pre-1948, current generations grow up in a system that is entirely Israeli/Zionist.

      The Israeli media has also done its share of ‘integrating’ and ‘assimilating’ the Palestinian citizens of Israel. During Israel’s Day of Independence celebrations, for example, Israeli state-run TV broadcast an entire event in Arabic, with Arabic songs included; as if Arabs were supposed to and expected to join in the celebrations of their own destruction.

      Such is the hubris of the Israeli government and media. But such practices are mostly a propaganda effort, both to show the outside world that Israel is a democracy, a state of all its citizens, and to give Jewish viewers in Israel the sense that the state does not discriminate against this minority. That way, when the Palestinians in Israel complain, the Jewish majority can say, “What are you talking about? This state has given you so much.”

      • Shingo
        May 26, 2012, 11:40 pm

        While I see where you come from Avi, if merging cultures means an end to suffering and human rights abuses, it’s a fair compromise.

        Immigrants to the US, Canada, Britain, Getmany and Australia are generally expected to learn the local language to get ahead, so one would expect the same in Israel.

        As for cultural heritage, it’s never static anyway. Indiand is the defacto local cuisine in London.

      • Blake
        May 27, 2012, 4:34 am

        Good comment Avi but I should have entered his whole quote in my comment to put it into perspective:

        “The best solution is to reintegrate Palestinians, a great people with tremendous commercial and economic skills, into Israel. This is what is best for Jews. Today, nearly a million foreign workers are in Israel, some for generations. This is simply not sustainable but also reflects human tragedy. The coastline of Palestine would look like Dubai if this had already been done. And yes, a name change would be in order, a show of good faith. No nukes & a new name…New Palestine.”

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