It used to feel like tunnels were the only way to get into Gaza. And on the Strip’s western boundary, they still are – dozens of actual subterranean passages that run from sovereign Egypt on one side to the Palestinian territory on the other, freightways to haul in everything from tuna to Toyotas to lions.

But the way in from Israel only seemed underground.  It was simply a long, long sheath of sheet metal, like the world’s deepest machine shed. This was the passage built to accommodate the thousands of Gazans who commuted to jobs in Israel every day, back in the time when Palestinians could work in Israel.  By the time I showed up, in August 2005, those days were over, and a visitor was a rare thing who had the long, empty, twilit space to himself. It went on and on and on, and at the time…

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