Commentary Magazine


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What The Wall Breach Really Means

This morning, masked gunmen blew a hole in the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Since then, according to the UN, some 350,000 Palestinians have crossed the border. Palestinian bulldozers have demolished much of the rest of the fence, as well.

We should have no doubt that the vast majority of the people who have crossed the border are in search of basic human needs such as food, fuel, and resellable merchandise. There is a war going on, and Israel’s blockade of Gaza has not been the prettiest part of it. But over the last two years, Israel and Egypt have worked together, to greater or lesser effect, to prevent the passage of what Hamas, Fatah, and the Islamic Jihad crave most: Weapons. Hundreds of underground tunnels have been exposed, through which small arms, missiles, and rockets have been smuggled for use principally against Israeli civilians. With the collapse of the border, it seems, all that tough digging has been rendered moot. Unless something is done very soon to re-establish the border, we should assume the worst: that a massive infusion of weaponry into the strip is about to begin.

So, what are we to make of the fact that Egypt, with probably the largest military in the entire middle east, has done nothing about the breach? Of all the anti-Western, terror-sponsoring regimes on earth, probably none are anti-Westerner and terror-sponsoringer than the one in Gaza. And now Egypt, in order to distance itself from the Israeli blockade and show its humanitarian feathers, risks making itself a direct accomplice to the arming of terrorists. This follows just a few weeks after it capitulated to Palestinian demands, against its promises to Israel, to let several thousand Palestinians cross back into Gaza through the security-lax, Egypt-bordered Rafah crossing, rather than go through a more rigorous weapons check at the Israel-bordered Kisufim.

In the middle east, friends of the West are often fickle when it comes to seriously fighting terror. Let’s keep an eye on Egypt.