The streets of Gaza City are deserted these days. Anyone who could make the 45-minute trek south to Rafah has gone into Egypt for supplies and a chance to break out of Gaza - if even for a few hours.
Overnight, the price of cigarettes was cut in half. At the beginning of the week, a pack of cigarettes in Gaza could cost more than four bucks. By week's end, the price was back down to two dollars.
The other reason Gaza's streets are empty these days is because many people can't get gas for their cars.
Israel is refusing to resume normal fuel shipments into Gaza until Palestinian militants stop firing crude rockets and mortars into Israel.
Israel is pumping in some fuel for Gaza's only power plant and offering some diesel, but Palestinians are actually refusing to accept the small shipments of diesel to protest Israel's policies.
This week, Hamas political strategist Ahmed Yousef was ebullient and boastful.
First, Rafah, he said. Next, maybe Erez, the sole passenger terminal linking Gaza and Israel.
On its face, the idea seems unrealistic and reckless. One can easily imagine what would happen if thousands of Palestinians tried to storm the well-defended Israeli border crossing - and it is not a pretty picture.
The Rafah events have given Hamas some new political leverage and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is offering to mediate talks between Hamas and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
So far, Abbas is refusing to talk. Abbas will meet tomorrow with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert in what looks like an attempt to boost the PA president's profile at a time when he has been sidelined by events in Gaza.
After that, Abbas is reportedly heading to Egypt to talk with Mubarak about Gaza.
Abbas and his pro-Western caretaker government have been crafting a plan to take control of the Gaza borders. But the idea has so far failed to take hold.
In a speech today in Ramallah, Abbas renewed the offer to put forces on the borders. Maybe the idea will gain some traction in Egypt, though it's not likely that Hamas will accede to the plan without receiving some concessions...