KFC's Same-Day Delivery Service, Gaza Smuggling Style

The french fries arrive soggy, the chicken having long since lost its crunch. A 12-piece bucket goes for about $27 here in Gaza City—more than twice the $11.50 it costs just across the border in Egypt. And for fast-food delivery, it is anything but fast: It took more than four hours for the KFC meals to arrive here on a recent afternoon from the franchise where they were cooked in El Arish, Egypt, a journey that involved two taxis, an international border, a smuggling tunnel and a young entrepreneur coordinating it all from a small shop here called Yamama—Arabic for pigeon. "It's our right to enjoy that taste the other people all over the world enjoy," said the entrepreneur, Khalil Efrangi, 31, who started Yamama a few years ago with a fleet of motorbikes ferrying food from Gaza restaurants, the first such delivery service here. There are no name-brand fast-food franchises on this 140-square-mile coastal strip of 1.7 million Palestinians, where the entry and exit of goods and people remain restricted and the unemployment rate is about 32 percent. Passage into Egypt through the Rafah crossing is limited to about 800 people a day, with men 16 to 40 years old requiring special clearance. Traveling through the Erez crossing into Israel requires a permit and is generally allowed only for medical patients, businessmen and employees of international organizations. Palestinians generally refer to Gaza as being under siege or blockade by Israel, and isolation from the world is among the most common complaints of people here. That can create an intense longing for what those outside Gaza see as mundane, or ordinary. Story

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