The Gaza Wall Where s The Outrage?
Vol: 102 Issue: 30 Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Last year the Egyptian government began quietly constructing a 90-foot wall along its border with the Gaza Strip. But the Gaza Wall doesn’t go up – it cuts straight down into the ground.
The Gaza Wall is designed to prevent cross-border traffic via tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. The official line from Egypt is that it is honoring its peace treaty with Israel by aiding the blockade of Gaza, thereby earning points with Washington as a ‘reliable peace partner’.
There are two sides to the story – how one sees it depends on one’s perspective.
The same tunnels that carry contraband into Gaza allows Gaza refugees into Egypt — not to mention facilitating the terror networks that equally threaten the Mubarak government.
Mubarak became president after his predecessor; Anwar Sadat was assassinated by members of a group founded by al-Qaeda #2 Ayman al Zawahiri. If al-Qaeda is in Gaza, that’s what Mubarak would like to keep them.
Additionally, Egypt has no intention of absorbing tens of thousands, if not more, Gazan refugees that would flood Egypt to escape the grinding poverty and oppressive rule of radical Islamic Hamas.
When you think of smuggler’s tunnels underneath the border, what mental image comes to mind? A hole in the ground and a dark passageway, say, about the size of a hallway? Those are the tunnels Americans are shown on CNN.
Usually they open into somebody’s kitchen and the smuggler’s cargo is stuff like food, medicine, goats. . . I saw one report where a kid was smuggling a rocking chair.
Even among pro-Israel Americans, those images evoke a kind of grudging respect. Americans respect ingenuity and it is our nature to root for the underdog – even when it’s an enemy.
The tunnels that CNN doesn’t show you are the ones that are big enough to accommodate railway cars.
Some reach a depth of sixty feet — and are reportedly equipped with electricity and sophisticated cable car systems. Some are used to import trucks, heavy military equipment, rockets, trucks, weapons and ammunition.
Israel’s Operation Cast Lead invasion of Gaza in 2008 was aimed primarily at closing some of these tunnels, and only secondarily at destroying weapons caches and taking out the rocketeers.
Israel attempted to justify the invasion by pointing to the barrage of over six thousand rockets fired from Gaza into Israeli cities and towns over the course of three years but that was deemed insufficient provocation by the international community
Palestinian fighters positioned themselves near civilian shelters, hospital emergency rooms, mosques, schools, from which they fired on Israeli tanks, hoping to draw return fire.
That is not just Israeli propaganda – the tactics were witnessed and reported by numerous independent witnesses, including those attached to the UN.
The UN Human Rights Commission took time away from condemning Israel for its ‘apartheid wall’ that divides Israel from the West Bank to order Human Rights Watch Board Member Judge Richard Goldstone to investigate Israel’s conduct.
When the UN’s Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead was issued, it was, as expected, a long and merciless indictment of Israeli ‘aggression against the citizens of Gaza’ — as if Israel’s invasion was unprovoked.
The Goldstone Report accused Israel of targeting civilians. It ignored Palestinian use of human shields. It accused Israel of deliberately attacking hospitals, schools, shelters, etc.
The Goldstone Report was immediately endorsed by all the usual suspects; the EU, the UN General Assembly, the Arab League, etc.
But when it comes to Egypt’s tactics, the silence is deafening.
For the record, I’ve no problem with border fences. I’m of the perspective that good fences make good neighbors.
I like all my neighbors, but we have a privacy fence all the way around our yard.
And I wouldn’t complain if my neighbor put up a privacy fence around his yard, either. It only serves to enhance my security — at his expense. (Thanks, neighbor!)
Having said that, when Egyptian forces encounter a tunnel on their side, they either demolish it immediately with explosives or they fill it with gas – often with people still inside them. Palestinian casualties inside the tunnels over the past several years are at least as high as those from Operation Cast Lead.
Some of them are terrorists. Some of them are civilians. Nobody knows for sure how many are buried in collapsed tunnels and the Hamas government doesn’t keep track.
The steel 90 foot wall Egypt is burying along its border with Gaza, (like Israel’s alleged “apartheid fence”) stops the flow of weapons into Gaza for use by Palestinian terrorists.
The Egyptians have been at it for more than a year – with nary a peep from the international community, the UN, the EU, the Arab League or any of the rest of the usual suspects.
Even the mainstream liberal media is largely taking a pass on the story. What relatively few reports there are, (compared to, say, the Goldstone Report more than a year after its initial publication) focus on Egypt’s [substantial] justification for building the wall.
Any evident sympathy for the plight of the Gaza Palestinians is generally saved for reports of Israeli counter-smuggling efforts.
“During a recent visit to Gaza, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told Palestinians living under an Israeli blockade that the “[United Nations] stands with you.”
Why is Bunky Moon railing against the “Israeli Blockade” and NOT about the 90 foot steel wall being buried along the Egyptian border? Until 1967, Gaza was part of Egypt! Now Egypt is walling them off and Bunky is blaming Israel!
For the past forty years, the Palestinians justified terrorism by claiming it was aimed at ending the ‘Israeli occupation’ so in 2005, Israel withdrew, ending the ‘occupation’ unilaterally.
Egypt posted border guards to keep the former Egyptians from coming “home”. The UN was ok with that.
Then the Egyptians started blowing up or gassing tunnels with used-to-be Egyptians (and now down-trodden, oppressed Palestinian victims of Israeli territorial ambitions/and or Israeli abandonment) and the UN is ok with that.
Now Egypt has almost completed an apartheid wall to keep used-to-be Egyptians (and down-trodden, oppressed Palestinian victims of Israeli territorial ambitions/and or Israeli abandonment) from obtaining vital food and medicine denied them by their ‘Israeli oppressors’ (and victims of Gaza’s indiscriminate rocket barrages) and the UN is ok with that, too.
There have been, oh, about a gazillion terrorist attacks on Israel emanating from either Gaza or the West Bank. So Israel fenced itself in (or fenced Gaza and the West Bank out –depending on your perspective).
In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled:
“Israel cannot rely on the right of self defense or on a state of necessity to preclude the wrongfulness of the construction of the wall. Construction of the barrier is contrary to international law.”
But the International Court of Justice is ok with Egypt’s wall keeping used-to-be Egyptians out. Or in — where they can keep on fighting against Israel.
It all depends on your perspective.