Philadelphi Passage

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Philadelphi Passage or Philadelphi Route was the name used by the Israeli forces for the fortress-like security zone between the Egyptian border and the formerly Israeli occupied Gaza Strip . It was 14 km in length and originally served the Israeli army as a secure patrol route from the Israeli border to the sea. The Oslo Accords gave Israel the right to military control of the Philadelphi Passage.


Structurally, on the Gaza side of the international border, the passage consisted of steel girders several meters high on concrete foundations with former observation and combat pulpits for the Israeli army, as well as a driveway between this steel wall and the Egyptian-Gaza border with another fence. On the Gaza side, this is followed by another strip of land that has been cleared of obstacles such as trees and houses. According to the humanitarian organization Human Rights Watch , Israel destroyed a total of around 1,600 Palestinian houses in order to create and expand this corridor and a clear field of fire in front of it. The only passage is in the nationally divided town of Rafah .

Border control, smuggling

The main purpose of the passage was to prevent the smuggling of people (such as weapons , ammunition , cigarettes , drugs , banknotes ) between Egypt and the Gaza Strip . In the course of the Israeli isolation of the Hamas government in Gaza since it came to power in 2007, the only border crossing to the Gaza Strip without Israeli control at Rafah to Egypt was practically completely interrupted by it, including for civilians. This cordon off the Gaza Strip has been partially circumvented by digging tunnels underneath.

The Israel Defense Forces responded with Operation Rainbow . A total of 3 tunnel entrances were discovered and destroyed by the Israeli armed forces.

Handover of control to Egypt

Prior to Israel's withdrawal in September 2005, there were various considerations about further control of this area. Keeping the Israeli army on the border required a larger security zone. One plan was to build a canal fed by the Mediterranean Sea to protect against attacks and tunnels. The required width of 130 to 290 m would have required the demolition of 1,500 houses. In the end, the government decided to withdraw entirely from the border and hand over control to the Egyptian army . For this purpose, Israel allowed the stationing of 750 additional Egyptian soldiers in the demilitarized zone according to the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty .

At the beginning of 2008, Egypt began building a 3 m high barrier, which - after Hamas had blown the border barriers - is to replace the previous barbed wire barriers at least on a section of the border.

On January 23, 2008, militant Palestinians blew up the concrete and steel wall in several places so that tens of thousands could buy goods in Egypt that had become scarce under the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip . After 11 days, the border was closed again on February 4th.

Tunnel between Egypt and Gaza

A large number of smuggler tunnels exist between Egypt and the Gaza Strip . These smuggling tunnels are built and operated by Hamas and other organizations in the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula . They are used to smuggle weapons and everyday goods into the Gaza Strip. Egypt takes action against the tunnels. By July 2014, the Egyptian army had destroyed over 1,600 tunnels.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Human Rights Watch
  2. ^ [1] Human Rights Watch - The Security Situation in Rafah
  3. a b Weapon Smuggling Tunnels in Rafah - Operation Rainbow (English) . Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  4. ^ IDF freezes plans for Philadelphi channel Ha-Aretz
  6. Palestinians break out of the Gaza Strip . The New Zurich Times. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  7. Egyptian troops seal Gaza border (English) . Herald Tribune. Retrieved January 30, 2011.