In the past few years, Israel’s security fence has become a major tourist attraction for leftist protesters appalled at the Jewish state’s chutzpah in erecting an obstruction against the Palestinian suicide bombers. The fence has been a major success and an integral factor in the defeat of the Palestinian terror offensive dubbed the second intifada, which took the lives of more than 1,000 Israelis earlier in the decade.
But those who want to demonstrate against barriers to keep the Palestinians from wreaking havoc on the region need not go to Israel these days. According to Haaretz, “Egypt has begun the construction of a massive iron wall along its border with the Gaza Strip.” The wall will be 10 kilometers long and will be made of slates of steel reaching 20 to 30 meters deep.
Apparently, Egypt is finally responding to pressure from the United States to shut down the massive smuggling of arms and other goods into Hamas-controlled Gaza. As the article states: “The smuggling industry is so institutionalized that tunnel operators purchase licenses from the Rafah municipality, allowing them to connect to electricity and water. Hamas has also been ensuring no children are employed in the tunnels, and is taxing all smuggled goods.” The tunnels also allow people to pass between Gaza and Egypt, “including terrorists who linked up with pro-al-Qaeda groups in Gaza.”
The point here is that the massive pressure on Israel to lift its limited blockade of the Hamas-controlled territory tends to ignore the fact that Egypt is equally interested in shutting down its border with Gaza. Though missile fire from Gaza has been aimed only at Israeli towns and villages, the Iran-backed Hamasistan that has arisen there is a threat to all its neighbors, Arabs as well as Israelis. Rather than trying to brand Israel as the perpetrator of war crimes against Gazans, those concerned with conditions in the crowded strip should instead remember that Egypt is just as involved with the blockade as are the Israelis. Even more important, sympathy for Gazans should be tempered by concern over the nature of their Islamist government. So long as the people of Gaza choose to be ruled by Hamas, they must understand that their neighbors will continue to build walls to keep themselves safe.