Hamas prime minister in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniya appealed to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday evening, to halt the construction of the ‘fence of death’, an underground steel separation wall on the Sinai border.
Hamas recently referred to it as ‘a disaster to the Palestinian people.’
In a speech marking the first anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, Haniya turned to ‘the air force hero’ (Mubarak was the commander of the Egyptian Air Force during the Yom Kippur War).
He told Mubarak: ‘We are not threatening Egypt’s security, we are not interfering in Egypt’s affairs.
‘We were forced to use the tunnels as an exceptional default option due to the situation we were pushed into.’
Haniya added: ‘I call on you to open the Rafah crossing as well. You have a national and religious responsibility.’
The ‘fence of death’, the huge steel wall is currently under construction by Egyptian workers and supervised by US and French officials to enforce a more efficient isolation of the Gaza Strip population.
The ‘death wall’ is conceived to function as a water-leaking system, by which existing tunnels will be flooded and anyone trying to build new tunnels would be drowned.
Cairo officials have revealed that on the Palestinian side of the steel wall holes will be dug, into which 20 to 30 metres long pipes would be inserted vertically and at a distance of 30 to 40 metres one from another.
These pipes would be connected through a 10 km-long horizontal main pipeline, from which sea water would be poured into them. The pipes, equipped with holes, would then release the sea water into the soil causing existing tunnels to collapse and preventing new ones to be dug.
The comb-shaped pipe system would also destroy the soil on the Palestinian side of the steel wall, but which would at the same time, prevent the salty water from soaking Egyptian territory.
The Hamas prime minister added that the Palestinians would continue to insist on their principles, and presented his stand in favour of an overall Palestinian reconciliation.
Haniya also called on the world to implement the Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza.
He asked the international community and the United Nations secretary to work to prosecute ‘the Israeli war criminals.’
Senior Hamas member Dr Khalil Al-Hayya, who spoke to thousands of Palestinians in northern Gaza, said that Hamas and the resistance organisations would not be defeated.
He added: ‘I call on everyone to continue supporting the resistance and promise that Gaza will not fall during the war and in the Strip and those who will fall will be the Americans and the Israelis.’