Gaza cut off from the world as Israel, Egypt close border crossings

Kerem Shalom, Erez crossings closed following rocket fire at Israel; Egypt speeds up project to create buffer zone on Gaza border after satellite images show hundreds of smuggling tunnels remain.

Roi Kais, Elior Levy, Yoav Zitun, YNET

The Gaza Strip will be completed isolated from the world starting Sunday after Israel decided to close both the Kerem Shalom and Erez border crossings and Egypt has accelerated its plans to create a buffer zone on the Sinai-Gaza border.

Destruction in Egyptian Rafah as army builds buffer zone (Photo: Reuters)

According to the Arabic Sky News channel, the evacuation of the border area to create a buffer zone was sped up after satellite images showed hundreds of tunnels remaining in the area, even after an intense Egyptian campaign to eliminate them.

Egypt destroys home on Gaza border to create buffer zone

On the ground, however, the situation is far more complicated and includes, among other things, hasty abandonment of Egyptian Rafah residents, and mounting regional concern of another escalation, a result of further pushing Gaza against the wall.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has been waging a wide-scale campaign against the smuggling tunnels from Gaza and the raging terrorism in the peninsula, told Kuwait media that “the operation has been proceeding in earnest, where most of the underground tunnels have been shut.”

The Sinai-Gaza border (Photo: AFP)
The Sinai-Gaza border (Photo: AFP)

He once again claimed that “the treacherous terrorist operations which we have been witnessing, such as the latest operation that has targeted Karam Al-Kawadis checkpoint, have been backed from abroad,” and that the Egyptian army has already managed to kill several terrorists involved in these attacks.

While the Egyptian army has managed to destroy 1,500 smuggling tunnels, satellite images exposed hundreds of additional tunnels – some in Rafah mosques, bedrooms and shops.

Destruction in Egyptian Rafah as army builds buffer zone (Photo: Reuters)

The establishment of a buffer zone in Rafah – a strip of land 14km long and half a kilometer wide – started following a terrorist attack in Sinai that led to the death of 33 Egyptian soldiers. The army began its work on the buffer zone by quickly evacuating and destroying 800 homes, compensating the residents.

Egyptian Rafah in ruins as the army creates a buffer zone (Photo: AFP)
Egyptian Rafah in ruins as the army creates a buffer zone (Photo: AFP)

This move, however, raised the ire of al-Sisi’s criticis. In Al Jazeera, the move has been dubbed “banishment.” The Qatari TV network affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood quoted residents and activists who claimed this was the “Egyptian equivalent of the Nakba in ’48.”

Egyptian residents evacuate Rafah (Photo: EPA)
Egyptian residents evacuate Rafah (Photo: EPA)

Egyptian state media, on the other hand, focused on the citizen’s understanding of the operation. Al-Aharam newspaper wrote that evacuated residents were “standing by the state after the terrorists made their lives hell.”

Egyptian residents evacuate Rafah (Photo: EPA)
Egyptian residents evacuate Rafah (Photo: EPA)

The rocket fire from Gaza to Israel on Friday is viewed by Israel as the first blatant violation of the ceasefire by Hamas. It led to the decision to close both of the border crossings from Israel to Gaza – Kerem Shalom at the south of the Strip, used to transfer goods, and Erez in the north of the Strip, through which people pass – as a way of pressing Hamas and making it clear to Gazans what is the price of rocket fire.

Flooding in Khan Younis following rainy weather (Photo: Reuters)
Flooding in Khan Younis following rainy weather (Photo: Reuters)

The Israeli move comes at the height of the transfer of goods, donations and construction materials for the rebuilding of the Strip following Operation Protective Edge.

The Israeli crossings are not the only ones closed, the Egyptians have closed the Rafah border crossing as well, which will leave Gaza completely cut off. Hamas has already turned to Egypt demanding to open the Rafah crossing “to prevent a humanitarian disaster.”

Eastern Gaza City in ruins (Photo: Reuters)
Eastern Gaza City in ruins (Photo: Reuters)

At present it remains unclear who was responsible for the rocket fire over the weekend, as Hamas has been efficiently enforcing the ceasefire, preventing rocket fire even by independent factions.
The organization itself is once again conducting experiments inside the Strip, and has launched at least eight rockets, most of them towards the sea, as well as resumed rocket production. It is operating in the midst of a diplomatic void, since the ceasefire talks with Israel have been frozen by Egypt.

November 2, 2014 | 78 Comments »

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28 Comments / 78 Comments

  1. @ yamit82:

    The Whirlpool doesn’t fit in the space, but the GE does. I don’t like GE , but “if it fits” famous quotes. Johnny Cochran O.J’s>>> murder trail.

  2. yamit82 Said:

    She was a bitter woman to the last day of her life.

    Gratitude is a poor substitute for love. Speaking of gratitude !!! I am off to pick out a new fridge this morning. TX is near to passin out from mere thought of spending all that cash.

  3. honeybee Said:

    No Darlin, she a female and yawl pass out the goodies.

    honeybee Said:

    yamit82 Said
    Maybe it’s love????
    No Darlin, she a female and yawl pass out the goodies.

    You probably right but allow we dumb males to retain some egoistic illusions and fantasies. That’s why they invented community property.

    Remember that unfinished story about my 94 yr old aunt? Well she met this guy Tony who was I think 10 years younger then she and he had just gotten out of college and was drafted in the army was stationed at Ft Sam Houston took courses at Baylor she worked and when he left the Army she put him through Law School. when he finished Law school and she financed setting up his practice they built large beautiful home once he began to have success he met a younger woman in Germany dumped my aunt and married the German.. She was a bitter woman to the last day of her life.

  4. honeybee Said:

    How will Dagmar find you at night ??????????

    We communicate by telepathy we seem to be attuned to each other. She can sense me from a distance.

    Maybe it’s love????

  5. honeybee Said:

    I can smell !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bigfoot

    Well I do wear size 12 DD moccasins and the real Bigfoot ain’t got nothing on me except smell I still smell like a man, at least that’s what I’ve been told (not lately though ) 🙁

    Thursday my stitches come out and I can take a proper shower. 🙂

  6. yamit82 Said:

    But I learned the art of camouflage and I wear moccasins so you will not see or hear me coming.

    I can smell !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bigfoot

  7. honeybee Said:

    Like Hell Soldier !!!! Iam a Bushwhacker !!!!

    But I learned the art of camouflage and I wear moccasins so you will not see or hear me coming.

  8. @ honeybee:

    Ribald Grammar Joke</strong

    A Tale of XXX Grammar

    On his 74th birthday, a man in Texas received a gift certificate from his wife. The certificate paid for a visit to a medicine man living on a nearby reservation. The medicine man was rumored to have a wonderful cure for erectile dysfunction.

    After being persuaded, he drove to the reservation, handed his ticket to the medicine man, all the time wondering what was to come.

    The old medicine man slowly and methodically produced a potion, which he handed to the 74 year-old. Gripping his shoulder, the medicine man warned, “This is powerful medicine and it must be respected. You take only a teaspoonful and then say ‘1-2-3?. When you do that, you will become manlier than you have ever been in your life and you will be able to perform as long as you want.”

    0K – The old man was encouraged. As he walked away, he turned and asked, “How do I stop the medicine from working?”

    “Your partner must say ‘1-2-3-4,’” the medicine man responded.

    “When she does that, the medicine will not work again until the next full moon.”

    The old man was very eager to see if the potion worked, so he went home, showered, shaved, took a spoonful of the medicine, and then invited his wife to join him in the bedroom.

    When she came in, he took off his clothes and said, “1-2-3!” Immediately, he was the manliest of men.
    His wife was excited and began throwing off her clothes. And then she asked, “What was the 1-2-3 for?”

    And that, boys and girls, is why we should never end our sentences with a preposition – or one will end up with a dangling participle!

    This sort of ribald humor is something up with which I will not put.

  9. @ honeybee:

    AUTÉNTICO TOQUE DE DEGUELLO???? Now yur talkin girl without the spice it’s not much fun I’ll sharpen mine and you yours.

    Then we’ll meet in the middle.

  10. honeybee Said:

    Improving your grammar will take all my energy, Sugar !!!!!!!!!!!

    What happened to:

    I am a challenge

    No for a Texas Cowgirl !!!!!! Sugar!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hmmmm I thought Texas Cowgirls had sass and grit and were up to such a challenge. Was I mistaken????

  11. “Just when I was running out of RED-MEAT. Forgive the pun.”

    And, oh, what a pun it is, honeybee. LOL You’re good! Greetings from Canada, y’all.