Sinai Project Raises Questions and Fears Among Palestinian Population


Sinai Project Raises Fears Among Palestinian Population

Satellite images released on Friday confirm the initiation of construction on what seems to be a substantial security enclosure in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, adjacent to Gaza. This development has raised suspicions that Egypt is preparing to accommodate an influx of Palestinian refugees from the Gaza Strip.

Published by The Associated Press and The New York Times, the images substantiate a recent report from the Sinai Foundation for Human Rights, quoting local contractors hired to construct a large, enclosed area featuring 7-meter-high (23-feet-high) walls.

While the Egyptian government has not issued any public statements regarding these reports, satellite images showcase significant land grading and construction, suggesting erecting a high concrete wall. Estimates regarding the size of the planned enclosure vary from 5 square kilometers (3.11 square miles) to 20 square kilometers (12.4 square miles). According to a contractor and an engineer who spoke with The New York Times, construction commenced on February 5, focusing on the wall in the past two days.

The Sinai Foundation, an independent NGO monitoring human rights in the Sinai Peninsula, reported that local companies, subcontracted by the Sons of Sinai construction company owned by businessman Ibrahim Al-Arajani, undertook the work. The foundation’s report suggests that the construction aims to create a high-security, gated, and isolated area near the Gaza Strip’s borders in preparation for potentially receiving Palestinian refugees in the event of a mass exodus.

Satellite images taken by Maxar Technologies on Thursday reveal cranes, trucks, and precast concrete barriers being set up approximately 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) west of the Gaza border. A Wall Street Journal report, quoting unnamed Egyptian officials, describes an 8-square-mile (13-square-kilometer) walled enclosure capable of accommodating over 100,000 people.

The Egyptian government has not responded to requests for comments, and there has been no official acknowledgment of the construction work. While Egypt has maintained that it would not permit Palestinian civilians threatened by the Gaza war to seek refuge in the country due to security concerns, the current developments suggest a reevaluation of this stance. Analysts speculate that Egypt may be motivated by concerns that Israel won’t allow the Palestinians back into Gaza once the conflict concludes. This suspicion is supported by Israel’s Misgav Institute for National Security and Zionist Strategy, which suggested evacuating the entire Gaza Strip as a unique opportunity during the conflict’s early stages. Despite concerns and speculations, there has been no confirmation of a concrete plan for evacuating Palestinian civilians to Egypt from Israel’s side.


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