The tunnels are a blessing and a curse. The network of underground arteries has enabled Palestinians in Gaza to bypass the limited caloric intake that Israel tried to impose. The tunnels offer a way to rebuild what Israel destroys and they provide an outlet of defiance. But the tunnels have also spawned a sort of ‘black market’ industry, complete with big bosses whose business interests trump the national or societal interest. There is nearly no oversight or regulations, except where it pertains to the collection of taxes for the local ‘sulta’ and general protection of the tunnel operations.
This means that goods coming into Gaza, especially food and medically related products, are often expired or otherwise unusable. Child labor, although not pervasive, is still present, even if in small numbers. The longer term damage of the tunnels is that they help to normalize, or even obscure, a situation of deliberate and targeted economic, civic, social, and familial destruction.