It was the publicity stunt of the year in Hamas-ruled Gaza: the delivery of Kentucky Fried Chicken from a branch in Egypt through a tunnel under their shared border.
But since the service was launched in spring, the Hamas-friendly Egyptian government of Mohamed Mursi has been toppled in an army coup.
And since then, Egypt's military has destroyed hundreds of the tunnels, sending the takeaway orders into free-fall with the rest of Gaza's economy, already squeezed by trade restrictions imposed by its other neighbor, Israel.
In Rafah, the sprawling city which straddles the Gaza-Egypt border, the dust raised by hectic smuggling activity has settled in the wake of the Egyptian army's campaign against the tunnels.
Just a few scattered diggers are working under tarpaulins covering the entrances to abandoned tunnels, excavating “for the future”.
“Is there a future for tunnels? Not with Sisi,” sighs a Gazan border police officer, referring to Egyptian military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The flow of state-subsidized Egyptian fuel to Gaza has all but dried up since the July coup, dwindling from about a million liters a day in June to 10,000-20,000 liters a week now, according to the latest report of the U.N. Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The shortage caused the shutdown on November 1 of the Palestinian territory's only power plant, which provided about a third of the strip's electricity.
The closure has resulted in power cuts for 16 hours a day.
Without electricity, water treatment stations have stopped working, and last week sewage began spilling onto the streets of several neighborhoods in Gaza City.
Now the Al-Yamama delivery company is looking back nostalgically on its days of delivering Egyptian KFC.
“Despite the high prices because of transport costs, people paid to have something that does not exist here,” said Haitham al-Shami, a 29-year-old partner in the business.
“It was a challenge,” he said, “to show that Gaza is not only war and death. We love life, but we have nothing.”
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر