A top Israeli defense official said Thursday that Israel wants to relinquish all responsibility for the Gaza Strip, including the supply of electricity and water, now that the territory's southern border with Egypt has been opened.
"We need to understand that when Gaza is open to the other side, we lose responsibility for it," Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said, according to his office. "So we want to disconnect from it."
"We want to stop supplying electricity to them, stop supplying them with water and medicine, so that it would come from another place," Vilnai said.
According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, a source close to the Rafah-based Popular Resistance Committees(PRC) said the destruction of the wall along the Philadelphi corridor Wednesday had been planned for months.
While PRC prepared the wall for destruction, local residents said Hamas deployed men to saw through the steel rods so the wall would crumble when the 20 land mines planted along a half-mile section were detonated.
Now, Egyptian officials are trying to slow the mass exodus of Palestinian residents from Gaza.
Tens of thousands of Gaza residents fled across the border to Egypt, where the market opened early to welcome them.
Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip a week ago, in response to increasing rocket and mortar shell attacks on southern Israel, allowing only minimal humanitarian supplies and fuel for a power station.
On Wednesday, Egypt permitted Palestinians to come and go freely across the border, but now they're trying to organize the massive crowds.
Years ago, the Israeli Defense Forces(IDF) built the steel and concrete wall along the Philadelphi Corridor -- the narrow strip of land at the Egyptian border, separating the Gaza Strip from the Sinai.
Source: Haaretz, The Associated Press