Smugglers satisfy fast food fans in Gaza - Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 20 May 2013

It is stretching the definition of “fast”. And also, some might argue, the definition of “food”.

Smugglers satisfy fast food fans in Gaza

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 20 May 2013

It is stretching the definition of “fast”. And also, some might argue, the definition of “food”.

But Gaza residents are prepared to wait four hours, and pay almost £20, for a dinner of cold, limp KFC chicken and chips, it has been revealed.

A company in the Gaza Strip has begun offering door-to-door KFC delivery. But with no KFC outlets in the territory, the chicken buckets must be smuggled through the network of tunnels that link it with the Sinai peninsula in Egypt.

Israeli border controls mean that only around 800 people are allowed from Gaza into Egypt each day, with men between the ages of 16 and 40 requiring special clearance. And restrictions on imports to the Gaza Strip mean that “finger-lickin’ good” chicken is not available inside the 360 sq km region.

Hundreds of tunnels sprang up in response to these restrictions, enabling a black market for a huge array of goods. Weapons and even people are smuggled underground, as well as construction materials, iPads, iPhones and luxury cars. Earlier this year, a 17-year-old Egyptian bride, in veil and wedding dress, travelled through the tunnel to her Gazan marriage ceremony.

The Al-Yamama company behind the KFC service advertises its not-so-fast food-smuggling enterprise on Facebook. Once orders have been received, the company’s founder, Khalil Efrangi, wires payment across to the KFC in the Egyptian town of Al-Arish, just across the border.

An Egyptian taxi driver then picks up the food and drives it to the tunnel openings. On the Gazan side, meanwhile, a taxi driver clears use of one of the tunnels with an official from Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza. The Gazan driver is lowered into the tunnel, meeting the Egyptian courier midway.

In Gaza City, Mr Efrangi then sorts the meals, passing them to motorcycle couriers, who deliver them to customers’ doors. The entire process usually takes between three and four hours. A 12-piece chicken bucket costs 100 shekels (£18), more than twice the shop cost. But many al-Yamama customers are middle-class business people, for whom price is no barrier to culinary satisfaction.

“The irregular circumstances in Gaza generate an irregular way of thinking,” Fadel Abu Heen, a professor of psychology at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza City, told The New York Times. “They think of anything that is just behind the border, exactly as the prisoner is thinking of anything beyond the bars.”

Smuggling goods through the tunnels, he added, is seen as a way of resisting the Israelis. Even if it comes in the form of lukewarm, slightly soggy chicken and chips.

Questions for discussion or further research:

  • What is the 'black market'? Choose an example from the history of black market trade and find out more about it.
  • Professor Abu Heen suggests that smuggling chicken is "a way of resisting the Israelis". What do you think he means by this?
  • What impact do you think that global food chains such as KFC might be having on the way we eat?
  • Some are prepared to pay more than double the shop price for smuggled KFC. Are there any products you would be prepared to pay double for if you were not able to get them any other way?

Resources for you

Black markets

  • This is a general introduction to black markets, as well as consumer and producer surplus.

Argumentative writing: Fast food essays

  • Work on your pupils’ reading, writing and note-taking skills with this argumentative writing resource about fast food.

A balanced plate – healthy eating

  • A primary resource that helps pupils understand what they need to eat to have a healthy diet.


  • Investigate the history behind smuggling in the 18th Century with this KS4 PowerPoint.

Further news resources

First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

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