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About ten years ago, the Egyptian military, at the behest of Washington and Tel Aviv, began flooding tunnels connecting the Gaza Strip to Egypt.

Back then, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi had just overthrown Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.

He needed much political capital to remain in power and to stave off any potential US criticism, however superficial, for his overthrow of a democratically-elected president.

To do so, Sisi needed to present himself to Washington as a reliable ally – and the best way of doing so was to crack down on Palestinians, and their Resistance.

Quickly, the US jumped onto the opportunity of supporting any Israeli efforts aimed at further tightening the Israeli siege on Gaza.

In no time, Egypt began flooding the tunnels with sewage water. Aside from the environmental disaster sewage water has caused, this also led to the death of many Palestinians, including people trying to escape the siege, along with some of those involved in the thriving tunnel business.

Israel plans to pump seawater into Gaza tunnels. (Image: Social media)

Siege and Tunnels

Since 2007, Gaza has been under a hermetic Israeli siege. Egypt participated in the siege by preventing Palestinians from using the Rafah Crossing as an alternative route for commercial goods – food, fuel, construction material, etc.

Also, Egypt has repeatedly shut down the Rafah Crossing, leaving thousands of Palestinians stranded on both sides of the border.

With the destruction of the tunnels, one of the very few lifelines remaining in the hands of the Palestinians in Gaza was severed. Their besiegement of Palestinians was now complete.

But, judging from the events of October 7, and the strong Palestinian Resistance in the Strip since then, it does not seem that the Resistance itself was greatly affected by Egypt’s US-backed strategy of destroying the Gaza tunnels using various strategies

Under the title “Floods and Bombs: This is How Egypt Handled Hamas’ Smuggling Tunnels”, the Israeli newspaper Yisrael Hayom was one of the many Israeli media that made the link between the Egyptian strategy and what they believe Israel should be doing in Gaza at the moment.

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Israeli army has in fact begun utilizing the Egyptian strategy, namely pumping seawater into the Resistance tunnels.

Satellite images analyzed by various media organizations, including NBC News, have shown massive water pipes starting at the Mediterranean Sea and ending in various parts of the coast of the Gaza Strip.

War Crime

While the Americans are, expectedly, enthusiastic about the idea of flooding the Gaza tunnels as a last resort of defeating the Resistance, others have warned against such a step.

Dmitry Polianskiy, the First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, for example, has warned that flooding the underground of Gaza with seawater is a war crime.

War crime because it would pollute an already highly salinized underground water in Gaza, as well as irreversibly damage the environment.

Additionally, according to Polianskiy, many Palestinian civilians are most likely hiding underground to escape the horrors of the Israeli war, which has, so far, killed over 18,000 people.

Desperate Measures

Palestinian writer and analyst Ramzy Baroud said that “flooding some of the tunnels is in itself, as cruel as it is, an act of desperation, simply because it is based on the erroneous understanding that the tunnel networks are connected in such a way that flooding one tunnel in Beit Layha, in the north, would somehow flood another in Rafah, in the south.”

“Due to the horrific tunnel-flooding experience by Egypt, and the anticipation that Israel would certainly resort to such an option, the Resistance tunnels are made in such a way that it would allow them to accommodate even such desperate and cruel tactics,” Baroud added.

Indeed, while all sides of the Gaza tunnels are made of fortified concrete, the ground is always left in its original material, basically compact sand and dirt.

According to experts, the construction of the tunnel is made to accommodate the possibility of intentional or natural flooding, which happens quite often each winter in Gaza.

Moreover, the fact that Israelis, US and their Western allies have been peddling the idea of flooding the tunnels as one of the main strategies in defeating the Resistance, has given Palestinians enough time to prepare for such eventuality.

“For Israel to succeed in flooding the tunnels, they would have to establish full control over Gaza first, identify the location of all tunnels, and start the process of slowly pumping seawater, which would take months,” Baroud said, “a time that Israel does not have considering its heavy losses due to the stiff Resistance in Gaza.”

Source: The Palestine Chronicle

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