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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gaza smuggling to finally be stopped?

Maan reports on a steel wall to be installed along the dividing line in Rafah between Gaza and Egypt, which Haaretz disclosed last week.
The steel wall and sensors were being installed along 10-11 kilometers of the 13-kilometer border; two to three were excluded because the soil is so soft along this stretch that it naturally prevents the maintenance of stable tunnels. The exclusion zones are referred to by officials in Rafah as International Marker No. 1 and No. 3, both of which are near the beach.

All these plates and sensors were manufactured in the United States. Six months ago, freighters delivered the plates to a port on Egypt's Mediterranean coast, where they were loaded onto military trucks and transported to Rafah under a shroud of secrecy.

The panels, which sources say were transferred through Sheikh Zweid city, measure 18 meters by 50 centimeters and are about five centimeters thick. They were designed to snap into place parallel to one another, arranged side by side to increase the underground border wall's horizontal length and effectiveness against the smugglers, who occasionally use explosives when digging.

Egyptian authorities have installed a network of these plates on two sites along the border; one is located about four kilometers north of the port, and another about 500 meters south of the Rafah terminal. Security forces have lowered them into the ground under the guise of performing routine maintenance work. They have also employed ordinary equipment, such as machinery for digging water wells, as not to arouse suspicions. As of press time, however, portions of the steel panels remained exposed above ground.

Egypt has officially denied any involvement, but Ma'an learned that the state confiscated or purchased private land along the border to implement the plan. Most of this land was owned by farmers, who separately accepted above-market compensation from buyers actually representing Cairo. Hundreds of trees have been uprooted over the past few months as authorities construct the underground system.
This sounds wonderful, but it should have been done two years ago. At this point, it's like slamming the barn door after all the cows have escaped.

By the way, there is no way that Egypt is not involved in this (elsewhere in the article, the claim is made that Egypt is being forced into doing it by the US and Israel). There is no way that someone is putting up border fortifications along Egypt's border and Egypt has nothing to do with it.


At 8:17 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Mubarak regime does not want another breakout like Hamas organized in 2008 and it doesn't want to look like it lost control of its border again. The smuggling in of goods will continue but getting people out is now next to impossible.


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