Hamas Planned Border Demolition for Months, Egypt Complicit

Hamas officials admitted that months of planning went into the demolition of the Gaza-Egypt border. Egypt refuses to heed calls to rebuild it.

Ezra HaLevi ,

An Arab man flees Gaza with suitcases
An Arab man flees Gaza with suitcases
(Photo: Flash 90)

Hamas officials have admitted that the demolition of the Gaza-Egypt border was not related to the blockade placed by Israel, but that months of planning went into the demolition operation. Egypt refuses to heed calls to rebuild it as Israel fears massive amounts of heavy weaponry and explosives are being transferred into Gaza. MK Aryeh Eldad is hailing the Arab exodus to Egypt as proof that voluntary transfer is indeed an option.

Hamas terrorist commander Abu Usama told the Times of London that work on demolishing the wall that runs along the Philadelphi Corridor between Gaza and Egypt has been ongoing for months – long before Israel placed a blockade on Gaza. He said Popular Resistance Comittee men have been using oxy-acetylene torches for months to slice through the heavy metal wall, enabling it to be completely toppled by the dozens of bomb blasts overnight Tuesday. "I've seen this happening over the last few months,” he said. “It happened in the daytime but was covered up so that nobody would see."

Hamas men use bulldozers to complete the demolition of the wall, enabling vehicular traffic and making sure the Egyptians will not rebuild.
(Photo: Flash 90)

Asked by the reporter whether he had informed his superiors in the Hamas government, he said: "It was the government that was doing this. Who would I report it to? Last night we were told to keep away from the wall. We were ordered to stay away because they were going to break the blockade."

Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal reportedly ordered the preparations and timed the demolition of the border to coincide with the terrorist summit that began in Damascus Wednesday. Called the Palestinian National Congress, the conference was organized by Iran and Syria and is being attended by dozens of representatives from each of the terrorist groups seeking Israel’s destruction, except for Fatah.

Mashaal delivered a fiery speech to open the conference, calling on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to ignore Israeli calls to close the border, saying he is not bound by any international agreements with regard to the region.

Mashaal seemed to indicate that Hamas was asserting sovereignty over northern Sinai, calling upon the Arab world to take advantage of the Islamist group’s new stronghold to provide aid directly without Israeli interference.

An Arab man holding suitcases flees Gaza over the demolished border fence with Egypt.
(Photo: Flash 90)

Egypt Refuses to Close Border
Egypt heeded Mashaal’s call, announcing that it has no intentions of honoring Israel’s demands to seal the border. Israel fears the destruction of the barrier will allow terrorists to freely bring heavier arms and explosives into Gaza than were already being smuggled through the network of underground tunnels. The border will remain open "as long as there continues to be a humanitarian crisis in the impoverished coastal territory," an Egyptian government spokesman told CNN.

An estimated 350,000 residents of Gaza crossed over into Egypt Wednesday, with Egyptian police standing aside and making moderate efforts to prevent them from leaving Rafiah and El-Arish for other destinations in Egypt. Many returned to Gaza, but a significant number remained in Egypt, with many traveling south to Egyptian population centers, raising concern in the Egyptian press of a massive wave of Gazan immigration.

Gazans crossing into Egypt with suitcases.
(Photo: Flash 90)

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that Egypt had to take care of the crisis on the Gaza border. Barak, in France, said: "I think that the Egyptians understand what their duty is, and we expect them to act to fix what happened today.”

MK Eldad Hails Voluntary Transfer
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said Wednesday that the crossing of hundreds of thousands of Arabs from Gaza to Egypt proves that a voluntary transfer of populations between territories is possible.

"The Israeli left continues to claim that there is no such thing as voluntary transfer, and simply ignores reality," Eldad said.

Gaza Arabs leaving.
(Photo: Flash 90)

The Moledet faction, within the National Union party, has long called for voluntary transfer, with MK Benny Elon's new Israeli Initiative limiting that call to the self-identified Arab refugees living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.