The Palestinian Islamic Movement Hamas affirmed on Monday that the Egyptian authorities’ closure of the Rafah Crossing and destruction of the tunnels have nothing to do with securing Egypt’s borders with the Gaza Strip.
In a statement, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said: “Closing Rafah Crossing and hindering the life of the Palestinians in Gaza and harming their interests by all means have nothing to do with securing Egyptian borders with Gaza.”
Indeed many observers agree that closing the crossing and destroying the tunnels only harms the life of Gaza’s residents. The tunnels have been the population’s lifeline since the start of the Israeli siege on Gaza in 2006.
Barhoum said that tightening the siege on Gaza, accompanied by the “demonization” of Gaza’s residents, is another attempt to impose solutions on the Palestinians against their will.
“If the borders need to be secured,” the spokesman said, “they have to be secured along the Egyptian-Israeli side.” He explained that Israel is the enemy of both Egypt and Gaza, and reiterated that Gaza would never be a threat to Egypt.
Egyptian authorities closed the main Gaza Crossing with Egypt on 3rd July, when the army removed President Mohammed Morsi in a coup. Since then, they have only allowed a small number of patients, students and foreign passport holders to pass through.
They also launched a fierce campaign against the tunnels used for smuggling between Egypt and Gaza, destroying a large number of them. Recently, the authorities have also started creating a 500 metre-wide buffer zone with Gaza to undermine the smuggling of commodities and medicines into the Strip.