Egypt’s steel wall: will this work?

Egypt has begun building a massive metal barrier along its frontier with the Gaza Strip, in an effort to cut cross-border smuggling. Intelligence sources have told the BBC that the wall will be ten kilometres long and will extend eighteen metres underground.

Haaretz – The Israeli daily newspaper – has cited Egyptian sources who say: “It will be impossible to cut or melt … [but] it is not expected to stem smuggling completely.”

Israel and the US have complained in the past that their Egyptian neighbours have not done enough to prevent trafficking into Gaza. Some have claimed that the porous border between Hamas-controlled Gaza and Egypt enables arms smuggling.

Cairo has had a crackdown in recent years and destroyed large numbers of tunnels but this wall takes this one step further.

Will this stop the smuggling? Will it also stop vital supplies entering the Gaza Strip? Are you in Gaza? If so, how will this change your life? Perhaps you’re in Israel – will this make you feel more safe?

23 Responses to “Egypt’s steel wall: will this work?”

  1. 1 Roberto
    December 10, 2009 at 11:39

    RE “” wall will be ten kilometres long and will extend eighteen metres underground. “”

    ———- Israeli critics have long ignored that Egypt has long controlled Palestinian access to Egypt.

    Nobody but the pro Caliphate Islamists want to see Hamas in power. It’s close to impossible to make Gaza more than a hellhole it was under the Palestinian Authority, but say HELLO to Hamas, they turned the trick as easily as taking a cakewalk.

    The wall reduces smuggling. Smuggling will still occur mixed in with legit aid supplies to Gaza.

  2. 2 Nigel
    December 10, 2009 at 11:48

    Very surprised that the Egyptians would unilaterally take action that would further imprision the Palastinian people in what can only be described as an open prison. They are living under conditions worse than animals in a zoo. It would be interesting to find out whose idea the wall was, who designed it, where the interlocking metal sheets are coming from and who is financing the 11 km wall. We already know that American engineers are working on various aspects of the construction. Sad day indeed!

  3. 3 vijay pillai
    December 10, 2009 at 12:04

    It is an inhuman way to deal with the precious resource which the japanese or chinese would have made a better use and few hundred chinese would have done a better job of manning the border.why people smuggle? Poor palestinians have to live underground for decade and it comes from another muslim nation with civilsation going back to time immorial. Think better human way to control smuggling rather than another waste of metal like building great wall of egypt.

  4. December 10, 2009 at 12:15

    Oh please, this is the Egyptian regime that we’re talking about here guys… The Egyptian regime that couldn’t care less about its own people, so why on earth should we expect from it to care about Gazans ??? This is such a predictable move… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  5. December 10, 2009 at 13:20

    The issue of building a long fence is not the solution to the Egyptian Gaza problem. The only solution I think is that the International Community should intervene and find lasting solution to that problem. Fire cannot cut off fire.

    From: Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia Liberia

  6. 6 Ibrahim in UK
    December 10, 2009 at 13:35

    A pro-US dictator financed by American tax-dollars obeying the US. Not surprising, but still dissapointing. Mubarak is already acting against the wishes of his own people by taking part in the blockade and starvation of the people in Gaza, this latest move is just an extension of that crime against humanity.
    Dictators should remember that they won’t live forever. Only the memory of their actions do.

  7. 7 patti in cape coral
    December 10, 2009 at 13:56

    No, it will not work. Walls hardly ever work, even steel walls.

  8. 8 Ben Asoro (Nigeria).
    December 10, 2009 at 13:58

    It will definitely slow things down on the interim.. But I think in the long term, the Gazans will get around this wall. I have no doubt that in as little as three years from now, new routes would have effectively replaced the old ones. How to build bridges of peace is what the governments in America, Israel, and Egypt should actively be thinking about. Not walls. If it is the reality that the Hamas leadership are consistently unreasonable, reason can still exist and prevail on the other side. Gazans are suffering…Yet Hamas is getting stronger… America has to arise in true leadership. The world has to push America to act.

  9. 9 gary
    December 10, 2009 at 14:27

    Well of course it won’t work! Humans are the most malleable machines on Earth and no hammer is more urgent than want.

  10. 10 Gary Paudler
    December 10, 2009 at 15:14

    Endless resources for walls and repression and dehumanization, anything but allowing people to lead a decent life and take care of their families. The US should be oh-so proud to be in the company of the likes of Egypt and Israel, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

  11. 11 Tom K in Mpls
    December 10, 2009 at 15:18

    Walls always fail. Look at the Berlin Wall and the US/Mexico border. The US wall gets crossed, above and below ground, all the time. Some prefer it to the unwalled wilderness because there are places to hide on both sides. This is what happens when you let politicians decide on practical issues. They want to spend your money to make themselves look useful.

  12. 12 franziberlin
    December 10, 2009 at 15:38

    Yeah. I agree. Walls don’t work. It takes a while but eventually all walls come down.
    You can’t contain a people by force. When will people learn?

  13. 13 Tony from Singapura
    December 10, 2009 at 16:22

    This is no surprise because Hamas is not restricted to Palestine, There are also significant Arab politics that are at play here. The Egyptions would much prefer if Hamas were not running the show on the other side of that fence almost as much as the Israeli’s do.

    Though this is sad for the Palestinians who will now be effectivly imprisoned from all sides.

  14. December 10, 2009 at 17:42

    Egypt’s steel wall can work in just isolating the Palestinians in Gaza furthermore as now they can have no escape from either the borders with Israel or Egypt. It’s rather pathetic to see a whole population living in collective imprisonment under the eyes of the international community.

  15. 15 vijay pillai
    December 10, 2009 at 19:26

    Survival of the fittest.whether one like it not i cannot help admire the skills of these tunnel diggers ,specially small ones ,vertical narrow chambers or narrrow tunnels. It take ingenuity and risk to lives,i too worked on tunnels in my youth as engineer. One has to study why people have to resort to that sort of risk unlike people who earn a living on land and not spend their lives underground.

    Having said that, on a positive note one of the world war t2 veteran a mechanical engineer imprisoned in germany for years used his tunneling skills to escape ,went on to win a MC and founded the soil mechanics group at cambridge university 60 years ago,lead a team of researchers on new theory of soil mechanics in 1958 called critical state theory. and a legacy after his name, Roscoe Suface.

  16. 16 viola
    December 10, 2009 at 20:03

    In the past, walls around cities protected the inhabitants. When castles or towns under seige ran out of supplies they had to break out militarily or sue for peace or hold out until starvation so weakened them that they could no longer hold out. Same thing here. The entire Gaza Strip is under seige. The question is, are the nations who are laying seige to Gaza sufficiently ruthless to maintain the seige long enough for it to work? Hamas clearly believes they are not and, of course, world opinion is with Hamas all the way on that issue in believing it is immoral to make people suffer collectively for what their elected leaders do. Yet, world opinion will not sanction collective action to remove Hamas.

    When Genghis Khan laid seige to a city, he would offer to let them all live if they surrendered; if they did not, he killed everyone, men, women, and children. That was ruthless. Let us hope the world is past such ruthlessness, including that part of the world that Hamas and similar groups represent.

    Walls have different purposes. Some are defensive. The Gaza wall will be offensive. Some are to keep people in. Some are to keep people out. The Berlin wall kept East Germans in and kept West Germans out. It was also an attempt to lay seige to West Berlin. It failed because the airlift of supplies into West Berlin allowed West Berlin to hold out. Sanctions are another kind of wall.


  17. 17 firemensaction
    December 11, 2009 at 03:00

    Democracy and freedom not compatible with walls.
    Remember one of the US Founding Fathers said ” He who would sacrifice a little liberty for a little security will lose both and deserve neither”
    How soon the US forgets its own history in not stopping this!

  18. December 11, 2009 at 08:07

    I am not surprised. Egypt’s is a puppet regime sponsored by Israel and it’s supporters in the west and they are the ones running this show of disinformation. They should all be ashamed of themselves. Why can’t they just put it plainly and say, “we want you to starve to death if need be”.
    What of needed supplies? For that there is the UN centres to give handouts but these too are traps for Palestians. You are fooled to hide there so that you can be bombed alongside your relatives and kids. At the end of it, no one is guilty. This too is a fascist idea and should be defeated.

  19. December 11, 2009 at 08:32

    Instead of building this wall, they should donate its cost to the oppressed people of Gaza. That would be humane.

  20. 20 kathy o'keefe
    December 11, 2009 at 09:13

    let me get this stright, one side they are surrounded by Israel walls and troops on the other side the Egyption walls, people wondering why the children grows up to be very angry adults. the governments on both sides are blamming each other, if you go back in history all sides are at faults at some point. Hey people wake up there is only one world

  21. 21 T
    December 13, 2009 at 23:31

    No it won’t. Look at the wall along the U.S. Mexican border.

  22. 22 Elias
    December 14, 2009 at 18:23

    Not entirely but it helps to limit the smuggling of arms.

  23. February 9, 2010 at 23:51

    Will it work? If it’s made of steel, of course it will. 🙂

    In all seriousness, this is really no different than measures people have taken since long ago to protect the integrity of their borders, to control who comes and who goes. Think of the Berlin Wall. Think of the US-Mexican border. Think of all the walled cities throughout the ages. Whether it is right or wrong depends on whether you are building the wall or trying to cross the broder.

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