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Thursday, July 29, 2010     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Delayed Egypt-Gaza security barrier called
'a huge failure'

CAIRO — Egypt has acknowledged that its security barrier along the Gaza Strip was hampered by delays.


Egyptian security sources said the security barrier along most of the 14-kilometer border with the Gaza Strip has been delayed by technical and administrative obstacles.

An Egyptian official said the barrier has already been deemed a disappointment by the Interior Ministry. The official said inspectors have found more than 200 holes in the wall breached by Gaza tunnel builders.

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"It has been a huge failure," the official said in a briefing on July 24.

The security sources said the barrier, expected to span 10 kilometers, would not be completed before 2011.

"This has been a difficult project and we are not getting any cooperation from the other side [in the Gaza Strip]," a security source said.

The sources said the barrier, in which six kilometers have already been constructed, had been expected to be completed by August 2010. But construction slowed down in the spring of this year amid technical problems as well as the need to bolster security forces along the Sinai-Gaza border.

The construction of the steel barrier, meant to reach up to 30 meters below the surface, began in 2009 with Western financial and technical assistance. The barrier was designed to contain thousands of sensors that would detect tunnel digging or activity along the Gaza border.

But Palestinian sources said tunnel operators have found a way to overcome the Egyptian barrier. They said Gaza laborers have been using equipment, including blowtorches, to cut through the five centimeter thick steel. Each hole was said to take less than a day.

The security sources, however, said the barrier has prevented or hampered about 70 percent of the estimated 1,500 tunnels that span Gaza and Sinai. They said the U.S.-origin sensors have allowed Egyptian security forces to block the smuggling of a range of products, including cement and vehicles, to the Gaza Strip.

On July 28, Egypt was reported to have discovered 10 tunnels, including those with multiple entrances. The sources said 16 tunnels were discovered in late July alone.

"No one denies that there still is smuggling," the security source said. "But it is much less than it was a year ago."


It is worth mentioning that building the steel barrier is something seen as inhumane all over Egypt and the Arab World. The best solution is to provide the Palestinians with their needs through legal gates which would naturally block the those tunnels which not only help the poor Palestinians but creates a new rich gang of those who exploit the needy people smuggling goods from Egypt and selling it very expensive to the Palestinians causing a continuous rise in prices in Egypt, too.

Mohamed EL Nagdi      4:51 p.m. / Friday, July 30, 2010

Note to Pam: I'm not calling you a plant, but a story on Drudge implies that many Gazans are living in the lap of luxury. See:

Jay York      4:42 p.m. / Friday, July 30, 2010

Egypt is complaining that it is getting no cooperation from Gazans in building the underground wall to cut off their tunnels??? What chutzpah. I just returned from living in Gaza for five months, and I can attest to the fact that if it were not for the tunnels, the shortage of everything from food to spare parts would be catastrophic. The tunnels are keeping Gazans alive!

Pam Bailey      2:26 a.m. / Friday, July 30, 2010

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