21 December 09
A new underground wall is going up along one of Gaza's borders, and Jimmy Carter's confusion notwithstanding, it's not the border with Israel. In fact, it is Egypt that is building a 10-kilometer long underground steel wall to prevent tunneling, and Gazans are none too happy, as the Los Angeles Times reports:
"Whether it is a wall, sensors or tapping devices ... what matters is that Egyptian territory must be protected. Whoever says Egypt is imposing its control on the border, we tell them this is Egypt's full right," Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit was quoted as saying by Al Ahram Al Arabi weekly magazine.The foreign minister's statements prompted Arab nationalist politicians and writers to accuse the government of President Hosni Mubarak of serving Israel's and the United States' interests at the expense of fellow Arab Palestinians. The matter highlights Egypt's close geographical and emotional ties to the Palestinians but also the complex political dilemma it faces in attempting to undercut Hamas.
LA Times writers Amro Hassan and Jeffrey Fleishman go on to detail statements by Arab officials and observers opposed to the wall and disputing Egypt's stated security concerns. But Arab opposition to the Gaza-Egypt wall is not limited to mere words -- so far, there have been four incidents of Gazans shooting on Egyptian construction workers --violent acts ignored by Hassan and Fleishman.