Over the past few days, news of child labor fatalities in building the Gaza tunnels swept the blogosphere — or at least the conservative blogosphere. The claim comes from a 2012 paper by Nicolas Pelham, a writer on Arab issues for the Economist and the New York Review of Books.
The paper, “Gaza’s Tunnel Phenomenon: The Unintended Dynamics of Israel’s Siege,” was published by the Institute for Palestine Studies, and focuses mostly on how the tunnel construction went from a “clandestine, makeshift operation into a major commercial enterprise, regulated, taxed, and bureaucratized.” It’s only when you get to the end of the piece that Pelham includes this observation:
“A similarly cavalier approach to child labor and tunnel fatalities damaged the movement’s standing with human-rights groups, despite government assurances dating back to 2008 that it was considering curbs. During a police patrol that the author was permitted to accompany in December 2011, nothing was done to impede the use of children in the tunnels, where, much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies. At least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials.”
So, 160 kids, “according to Hamas officials,” were killed building these tunnels. Where is the outrage from the crowds who heap opprobrium on corporations using Third World sweatshops to manufacture sneakers?
Oh, and while we’re asking a “where is” question — where is Mr. Pelham’s paper now? Clicking on links to it, from blogs or even from the Institute’s own site, brings up blanks. Was it scrubbed?
Click the following link to download a copy: Nicholas Pelham on Gaza tunnels