Israel’s announcement on Wednesday that its forces had gained management over a strip of land that runs alongside the Gaza Strip’s southern border advised that it had fulfilled one of many targets of the nation’s struggle in opposition to Hamas, but it surely portends additional isolation for Palestinians within the enclave.

Right here’s a have a look at the significance of the border strip to Israel, to Palestinians and to Egypt:

It’s land round 100 yards broad that runs roughly eight miles from Israel’s border to the Mediterranean. The brand new border, which divided town of Rafah, was arrange below the Egypt-Israel peace treaty of 1979. To the northeast is Gaza, whereas Egypt lies to the southwest. Egyptian border guards have been policing the land below an settlement with Israel made in 2005 when Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza. The Israelis used the code title Philadelphi for the strip, whereas Egyptian officers name it Salah Al Din.

Senior Israeli officers had set management of the strip, which in Israel is named the Philadelphi Hall, as a army goal. Hamas had dug tunnels beneath the strip — some broad sufficient for vehicles, based on army consultants — and used them to smuggle weapons and personnel into Gazan territory.

“That is the way in which they’ll get out and in with out asking the Israelis,” mentioned Ahron Bregman, a political scientist and knowledgeable in Center East safety points at King’s School in London, who’s a former Israeli army officer. Except the tunnels are blocked, he mentioned in a earlier interview, Hamas might rebuild its army capability after the struggle.

Throughout different regional conflicts, Egypt has opened its borders to refugees, however the authorities of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi fears that if Palestinian civilians crossed the border to flee the struggle they might destabilize the nation and turn into a drag on its financial system.

The federal government additionally sees Hamas as an adversary and doesn’t wish to give it a foothold in Egypt. Hamas started as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist motion that was intently linked to the federal government that Mr. el-Sisi overthrew in 2013. His authorities has suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood since taking energy.

Egypt has warned Israel to keep away from doing something that may drive Gazans throughout the border or threaten a landmark peace settlement signed by the 2 international locations in 1979.

For many years earlier than the struggle, Egypt stationed guards alongside the Gaza border. It strengthened these forces after the Oct. 7 Hamas-led assault on Israel that set off the present preventing in Gaza.

Egypt is the one nation aside from Israel that borders Gaza, so Israel’s management of the hall is prone to be seen by Palestinians as an indication of accelerating isolation.

On the identical time, the tunnels have been utilized by Egyptian and Palestinian retailers to deliver meals and different items into Gaza. Israeli management of the strip will seemingly halt that underground commerce.


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