Following a series of explosions last night, a section of a security wall between Egypt and Gaza was blown up, allowing thousands of Palestinians to swarm into the Egyptian side of Rafiah to buy much needed food and supplies. With neither Palestinian or Egyptian security authorities making any effort to stop them, the frantic Gazans could be seen bringing back virtually everything imaginable, including cartons of Egyptian made cigarettes which cost a fraction of those available in Gaza.
Concerned Israel governmental officials are worried that not only can all kinds of contraband, including narcotics and weapons, can be literally carried back to Gaza; but that anyone desiring can just walk over the now unguarded border, including terrorists such as members of Al Qaeda.
The residents of Gaza were already in an unpleasant situation when Israeli authorities shut the border crossings between Israel and Gaza following a series of Kassam missile attacks Israelis. These missiles caused both personal injury and property damage to Israelis, especially in the town of Sderot.
Israeli government officials in Jerusalem were quick to point out that as previously agreed it is Egypt’s responsibility to maintain security along its border with Gaza. But this apparently is not working out with Egyptian police officials doing nothing from preventing people from bringing what could wind up being tons of arms and explosives into Gaza.
Following Israel’s complete closure of its border with Gaza this week, in the aftermath of more than 150 Kassam rockets being fired into Israeli territory, Prime Minister Olmert went one step further by shutting down the electricity grid and preventing supplies of fuel oil and gasoline from reaching Gaza, which virtually kept the Strip in the dark. Despite a slight let up by Israeli authorities to allow limited supplies of fuel and medicines into Gaza, residents of Rafiah decided to take measures into their own hands, which resulted in to explosions that opened a large section of the security wall. For most residents of Gaza, this is the first time they have been able to cross freely into Egypt, and this includes even students who had been enrolled in universities abroad. One Gaza man was heard saying that he planned to take his son to Cairo to board a flight to Morocco where he was supposed to be attending school.
What will happen next is very much up in the air, as Egyptian authorities do not seem willing to assert their authority following a riot at the border crossing the day before which resulted in a number of Palestinians being wounded when Egyptians opened fire in the air to prevent Gazans from breaking down the border gate. What now concerns Israeli authorities is the possibility of scores of terrorist of all kinds, including members of Al Qaeda, from literally walking into Gaza to assist them in their armed struggle against Israel. There is also the possibility of various types of armament being brought in to Gaza, including longer range rockets capable of reaching further into Israel.
Israeli government ministers said that they hold Hamas responsible for what has occurred, as “Hamas controls the territory”. Even before this event occurred, many say that it was easier to purchase arms in Gaza, including RPG’s, than to purchase soft drinks or medications.
January 26, 2008 at 9:29 pm
As was printed in my local paper, an open border with Egypt is a cause for concern. Being open proves that the ‘Palestinians’ are NOT locked in. So those people can’t have it both ways.