How Hamas stays in power
Far from being crippled by sanctions and siege, Gaza’s Islamist rulers have managed to develop growing local sources of income, mainly by exploitation.
…One must also take into account the considerable trade conducted via the more than 800 tunnels into Egypt. Based on fragmentary evidence, this trade likely peaked at around $600 million-$850 million per year. Much attention has already been devoted to the goods smuggled into Gaza, such as fuel and cement. Less well understood is the fact that, in exchange for these goods, cash has been steadily exported out of Gaza through the tunnels, at a rate of roughly $750 million per year. Cash is also flowing out of Gaza – through the tunnels and via bank transfers – to safe havens in Persian Gulf countries and Europe.