The (new) Gaza wall

rafahwallsm.jpg


al-Masri al-Youm English has what may be the first close-up picture of the new wall being constructed at the border between Egypt and Gaza, revealed last week by Haaretz. The wall appears to consist of an underground portion (rumored to go as deep as 20 or 30 meters) as well as an above-ground portion, which has long existed (although it had been partially destroyed in the January 2008 breakthrough by Hamas, which allowed thousands of Palestinians to resupply in Sinai).

Note from the story accompanying the picture that smugglers (who took the above picture) don't seem to worried about the new wall:

Rafah--Smugglers along the border of Egypt and the Gaza Strip will continue moving goods through tunnels despite the recent construction of an underground wall.

"Let the Americans and the Israelis pay for the wall," Ismail*, a smuggler, told Al-Masry Al-Youm. "The tunnels are minimum 20 meters underground. We can make it 40 meters."


This being said, smuggling remains a high-risk endeavor, with another tunnel collapsing yesterday claiming three Palestinian lives.

On another note, do bookmark al-Masri al-Youm English's site - with initial problems with their site now resolved, it's updated daily with tons of great material, such as this story about a Cairo synagogue that has been converted into an office for Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.