Egypt Is Building a Massive Wall Along Its Border With Gaza Anticipating a Refugee Crisis

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Egypt really, really, really doesn’t want Palestinians escaping from an Israeli attack on Rafah to cross into the country. Rafah sits on the border between Gaza and Egypt and is currently home to about half of the 2.3 million Palestinians on the Gaza Strip.


Israel is readying a ground assault on the city that has most of the population of Rafah wanting to leave but having nowhere to go. UN aid agencies that are trying to care for the Palestinians have no place left to set up shop to serve refugees.

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Gaza is already largely a pile of rubble, and this terrifies Egypt and its military government led by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. With no place to go on the Gaza Strip, refugees are going to try to cross into Egypt by the tens of thousands. El-Sisi is preparing to prevent that eventuality at all costs.

Satellite photos show that the Egyptian military is excavating a huge swath of the border and building a wall 16 feet high. 


Egypt began boosting its security presence at its border with Gaza as a “precautionary” measure ahead of the expected Israeli ground operation, Egyptian security officials told CNN. As part of its security buildup, the officials said, Egypt has deployed more troops and machinery in North Sinai, bordering Gaza.

Checkpoints leading to the Rafah border crossing on the Egyptian side were also fortified with more soldiers and the areas around the main road were being prepared for the deployment of tanks and military machinery, a witness told CNN.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said it’s creating a plan to evacuate the 1.2 million Palestinians in Rafah and move them out of harm’s way. The IDF has also promised to come up with a method to differentiate between Hamas terrorists and civilians. Neither plan has been presented to the government yet.

The buffer zone will stretch from the end of the Gaza border to the Mediterranean Sea and will be reinforced with armor and infantry units. There’s only one way this scenario can play out, and it won’t be good for the Palestinians. 



The city is the last remaining refuge in Gaza for displaced Palestinians, and panic is soaring as many decide whether to stay or leave ahead of the planned ground offensive. Families struggling with shortages of food, water and medicine are living in tents just meters from the barbed-wire fence separating them from Egypt. Most have trekked to Rafah after being displaced by the war elsewhere in Gaza.

Rajaa Musleh, the Gaza representative for the nonprofit organization MedGlobal, currently based in Rafah, painted a vivid picture of the situation in the besieged town, saying that health workers who are still alive “may still be breathing, but we are dying inside.”

Trapped between the IDF and the Egyptian armed forces, which will not show the forbearance at the border that other nations might, the potential for a bloodbath is real and growing. The Palestinians are already under threat of mass starvation and epidemic diseases. Now there’s the possibility that they could be caught between two powerful military forces with literally no place to go.

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