Palestinians protest against the closure of the Rafah crossing point between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip and the Israeli blockade on the territory, on 24 January 2019 in Rafah
Last month the Egyptian army began construction of a new separation wall on the border shared with the besieged Gaza Strip, allegedly to reinforce security in the Sinai Peninsula, Israeli media revealed earlier this week.
According to the Israeli news Channel TV7, the first phase of the wall, which started on 27 January, will be two kilometres in length, starting from Kerem Shalom and crossing to the Rafah border crossing.
The wall, which is only ten metres away from an older wall built in 2008, is six metres above ground level and is made of reinforced concrete. It is also five metres deep, below the surface of the ground.
No information has emerged regarding the second phase of the wall, and its construction began without announcement or media coverage.
It is worth noting that the Egyptian major general, Ahmed Abdel Khalek, who is in charge of Palestinian affairs, visited Gaza on 10 February along with an Egyptian security delegation. They had a field visit along the Gaza/Egyptian borders.
News reports claim that this wall aims to reinforce security in Sinai, as well as to ensure that all the cross-border tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, which were dug to smuggle food and construction material due to the strict Israeli siege, are shut down.
In October 2014, the Egyptians constructed a 14-kilometre-long buffer zone along the borders with Gaza. They forcefully displaced the Egyptian residents and razed their homes.
Originally, the buffer zone was 500 kilometres wide, but in October 2017, it was expanded to 1,500 metres wide.