Shalom Life | November 30, 2014

Egypt’s Decision To Increase Gaza Buffer Zone May Leave Thousands Homeless

The decision comes after new tunnels, some 800 to 1,000 meters long, leading into Egyptian territory were discovered by Egyptian forces.

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: November 18th, 2014 in News » World

Egypt’s Decision To Increase Gaza Buffer Zone May Leave Thousands Homeless

According to Haaretz, the Egyptian government has announced that it will be increasing its buffer zone in the Egyptian Rafah to one kilometer in order to improve national security.

The decision comes after new tunnels, some 800 to 1,000 meters long, leading into Egyptian territory were discovered by Egyptian forces. They also found, and destroyed, twelve tunnels that were leading into the country from the Gaza Strip.

Although the Egyptian government is citing national security as their reasons for increasing the buffer zone in the Egyptian Rafah, many residents aren’t happy about this. Over 1,000 homes are located within this newly increased safe zone, and will be demolished as a result. While the government has publicly stated that they will either be relocating the 1,000+ people to new homes, or paying them for damages, Haaretz reports that many human rights organisations believe this only further hinder their people and cause unnecessary hardship.

This decision to expand the buffer is not without justification, however. In September, a series of bombings in Northern Sinai killed 33 people and injured countless others. It was believed that the smuggling tunnels under Egypt were used in these attacks by terrorists operating within Gaza.

Haaretz also claims the September bombings also put an end to the Israel-Palestine ceasefire talks, delegated by Egypt, and has prevented some of the much needed aid from entering Gaza.

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