Israel cannot impose a blockade on its own. Egypt controls the southern border of the Gaza Strip. It also maintains the blockade to prevent Hamas from obtaining weapons from Iran and materials it can use to manufacture rockets to fire at Israeli cities. Egypt demolished dozens of homes along its border with Gaza to create a buffer zone to stop smugglers and extremists from crossing in either direction and built a wall to prevent their use of tunnels under the border.1
The Islamic Research Council of Al-Azhar University in Egypt, the voice of Sunni Islam, has publicly supported Egypt’s attempts to destroy the smuggling tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. “It is one of Egypt’s legitimate rights to place a barrier that prevents the harm from the tunnels under Rafah, which are used to smuggle drugs and other (contraband) that threaten Egypt’s stability,” the Council said. “Those who oppose building this wall are violating the commands of Islamic Law.”2
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas voiced his support of the blockade to U.S. President Barack Obama when they met at the White House on June 9, 2010. Abbas stated that lifting the blockade would give Hamas access to more weaponry.3
Meanwhile, people, goods, and fuel can enter Egypt through Rafah and the Salah Al-Din crossing. At the border with Israel, the Erez crossing is used for people and the Kerem Shalom for transferring goods and fuel.
In 2021, the UN recorded 179,390 exits and 158,764 entries via the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt and 90,421 exits and 87,015 entries via the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel. These figures refer only to the movement of people and are additional to the movement of goods and fuels.
In addition, Israel has also complied with—and exceeded—international law by delivering humanitarian supplies it is not required to provide.
Meanwhile, “peace activists” seeking to break the blockade have not spoken out against Hamas terror or the denial of human rights to Palestinians by Hamas officials ruling the Gaza Strip. With the possible exception of Turkey, the international community has not opposed the actions of Israel and Egypt because Hamas has refused to meet the conditions for ending the blockade: halting terror attacks, recognizing Israel’s right to exist, and agreeing to abide by past Israeli-Palestinian agreements.