Egypt Erects 8-Square-Mile Walled Enclosure in Sinai Desert for Rafah Refugee Spillover

We know that it is more difficult for us to fight in an environment where there are over a million people and another 10,000 Hamas operatives.”

There are now some 1.5 million people crammed into the far southern city, which is more than six times its pre-war population, according to UN estimates. Egypt is now fearing the crisis will spill over its border, and is racing to erect a large walled compound to physically keep refugees from Gaza out, amid fears a bigger Israeli ground assault is imminent.

Egyptian officials have said they are constructing an 8-square-mile walled enclosure in the Sinai Desert close to the border, in an anticipation of at least some Gazans getting into Egypt. It appears this a ‘plan B’ of sorts in order to contain the anticipated swarms of refugees coming into the Sinai desert, but without allowing them freedom of access to the rest of Egypt.

This would be a massive military guarded camp of sorts, which could see over 100,000 people settle there: 

For weeks, Egypt has sought to bolster security along the frontier to keep Palestinians out, deploying soldiers and armored vehicles and reinforcing fences. The massive new compound is part of contingency plans if large numbers of Gazans do manage to get in.

More than 100,000 people could be accommodated in the camp, Egyptian officials said. It is surrounded by concrete walls and far from any Egyptian settlements. Large numbers of tents, as yet unassembled, have been delivered to the site, these people said.

With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying his army will need to fight Hamas in Rafah, a Palestinian city on the Egyptian border, Egyptian officials think a broad Israeli offensive could happen within weeks.

But officials say Egyptian border security would still seek to limit refugee numbers coming into the camp to around 50,000 or 60,000 people. 

Assuming a brutal Israeli military siege of Rafah happens as anticipated, and as Gazans essentially have nowhere else to go, this Egyptian camp has all the makings of what will likely to become the next permanent Palestinian refugee camp – as is the case with similar settlements which have long been in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.

Already large tent cities have popped up after months of Israel’s campaign in Gaza…

Meanwhile, Hamas and Israel are no closer to a ceasefire, and a new report has emerged Thursday strongly suggesting the Biden administration in reality has no interest in peace, and is staying mum while Israeli decision-making gets more hawkish. According to Axios:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Secretary of State Tony Blinken last week that a direct or indirect U.S. recognition of a Palestinian state “would be a prize for those who planned and orchestrated the Oct. 7 massacre,” two Israeli officials told Axios.

Such recognition by the U.S. would change decades of American policy that advocated for a Palestinian state only as a result of direct negotiations with Israel. The Israeli government is increasingly concerned if that happens, it would put more pressure on Israel to accept a Palestinian state.

One displaced Gazan has been cited in WSJ as follows: “Some people are already on the Egyptian border, and if the bombing intensifies, they will go directly to Sinai. It’s the worst of decisions.”


Zero Hedges

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