Egypt Builds a Camp for 100,000 Palestinians

Written by Jack Elbaum

What’s happening: Egypt is building a walled enclosure on its border with Gaza to house Palestinian refugees after Israel begins its operation in Rafah, Hamas’ last stronghold.

  • The details:Satellite imagery showed the construction of a wall and security towers around a piece of land that borders Gaza. Such an area should be able to temporarily hold upwards of 100,000 Palestinians.

Policy change? Egypt has been clear, since the start of the war, that it would refuse to take in any Palestinian refugees because it claims it would hurt the possibility of the creation of a Palestinian state. Radical Palestinian elements may also be destabilizing the situation.

  • But, despite preparing for refugees, Egypt’s policy has not changed. The contingency plan was formed with the expectation of a mass exodus of refugees heading toward its borders very soon.

  • Context: There are currently more than a million displaced people in Rafah who have evacuated other cities earlier in the Israel-Hamas war.

  • Also: Israel creates humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to escape to safe zones in every city in which there is fighting.

Avoiding imminent invasion: Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli war cabinet, said Israel is giving Hamas until the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (March 10) to agree to a hostage deal that would include an extended temporary ceasefire. If no agreement is reached, the IDF will operate during Ramadan after civilians have evacuated.

  • Behind the scenes: Gantz suggested a hostage deal is progressing. Israel stated it will not agree to anything that forces a permanent withdrawal of its forces and allows Hamas to survive.