Photo Credit: The Sinai Foundation for Human Rights
Construction of new city for Gazan Arabs to be transferred from Rafah.

The Sinai Foundation for Human Rights, an Egyptian-American information company registered in the UK in 2021 and dedicated to disseminating accurate information about events in the Sinai, on Wednesday reported that “construction work currently taking place in eastern Sinai, is intended to create a high-security gated and isolated area near the borders with Gaza strip, in preparation for the reception of Palestinian refugees in the case of the mass exodus of the citizens of Gaza Strip.”

Back in November, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi categorically rejected the resettlement of Gazan Arabs in the Sinai, stressing that the idea was “generating fury among Egyptians.”


The Egyptians were irate after Israel had leaked, on October 13, before the first IDF soldier set foot inside the Gaza Strip, a paper titled, “Options for a policy regarding Gaza’s civilian population,” that recommended transferring Gaza’s estimated 2.3 million civilians to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The report suggested moving the Gazans into tent cities in Sinai before modern cities are constructed in a resettlement area.

The report also suggests the creation of a sterile zone on the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza, advising that “The return of the population to activities/residences near the border with Israel should not be allowed. In addition, a security perimeter should be established in our territory near the border with Egypt.”

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed correspondent Lara Gibson declared that “Resettlement would be devastating for the Palestinian cause, as Sisi has said himself since the refugees would most likely be forever displaced in a second ‘Nakba.’ Israel would also be making a direct threat to Egyptian sovereignty, which Egyptian officials have declared is an absolute red line.”

And yet, according to The Sinai Foundation for Human Rights, comprised of a group of local activists, researchers, and journalists, whose stated mission is “to present a real picture of what is happening in the peninsula, to fight against all forms of violations, and shine a light on the humanitarian conditions of the locals as a weak, marginalized class that became victim to armed conflict,” the Gaza relocation is already in the works.

Construction works on a new city for Gazan Arabs in north Sinai. / The Sinai Foundation for Human Rights

The foundation interviewed two local contractors who said Cairo hired two local construction companies through the Egyptian Armed Forces Engineering Authority, “to build a gated area, surrounded by 7-meter-high walls. After the removal of the rubble of the houses of the indigenous people of Rafah, who were displaced forcibly and their houses demolished during the war against terrorism against ISIS.”

The report continues: “The area is expected to be leveled and ready in no more than 10 days. They said this information is being circulated in closed circuits to avoid publication, noting that the work is being done under the supervision of the Egyptian Armed Forces Engineering Authority under heavy security presence.”

The Foundation reported that “The construction works that started early Monday, February 12, have its eastern borders lying between a point southern of the Rafah border crossing and another southern of the Kerem Shalom border crossing, while its western borders lie between Qoz Abo Raad village and El-Masora village.

“Military intelligence officers are present as well as the ‘Fursan Al-Haitham’ militia that stems from the Sinai Tribal coalition headed by businessman Ibrahim Al-Arjani, near the Qoz Abo Raad area south of the city of Rafah, along with construction tools, bulldozers and local contractors,” the report concluded on an ominous note suggesting conflicts may arise between the Gazan newcomers and the ISIS-affiliated Bedouin tribes of the Sinai.


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