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Egypt rejects idea of Israel waiving responsibility for Gaza
by Haaretz (reposted)
Thursday Jan 24th, 2008 1:48 PM
A top Egyptian official said Thursday that Egypt's border with Gaza would go back to normal, and strongly rejected the idea - floated by Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai - that Israel might relinquish all responsibility for the troubled Gaza Strip.

"This is a wrong assumption," Hossam Zaki, the official spokesman for Egypt's foreign ministry, said of Israeli hints that it was thinking of giving up all responsibility for Gaza including supplying electricity, now that the territory's southern border with Egypt is open. "The current situation is only an exception and for temporary reasons, Zaki said. "The border will go back to normal."

Meanwhile, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday called on Gazans not to clash with Egyptian security forces guarding the border, a day after ilitants smashed the frontier fence and flooded into Egypt.

"We reject attempts to create crisis with Egyptian security forces in Rafah," Mubarak said. "We know very well our national security considerations. We will not give them up and we will not let anyone harm them or attempt to harm them."

Mubarak also called on Palestinian militants to put an end to their disagreements and work to improve the situation in the impoverished Strip.

"We call on the son of Palestine from all faction to put their nation's suffering above all other considerations," he said.

The Egyptian president also slammed Israel for cutting of fuel supplies to Gaza, saying the peace process "could not afford another failure." He added that Egypt would not all the residents of Gaza to starve or become victims to a humanitarian tragedy.

by IOL (reposted)
Thursday Jan 24th, 2008 1:49 PM
CAIRO — Israel claimed on Thursday, January 24, there were fears that some people might sneak into Israel from Egypt across the borders to attack Israeli targets, reported Haaretz.

"An expansion of security measures is needed in response to the large numbers of people entering the Sinai from Gaza," Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter told a meeting of senior police officers.

Dichter instructed them to ratchet up security measures in southern Israel.

"We have reason to believe some of these people may later attempt to infiltrate Israel from Sinai."

Several hundred thousand people swarmed out of Gaza into Egypt for the second day on Thursday to stockpile on food, fuel and medicine supplies.

by Haaretz (reposted)
Thursday Jan 24th, 2008 1:50 PM
Public Security Minister Avi Dichter (Kadima) on Thursday instructed senior police officials to ratchet up security measures in southern Israel due to fears that infiltrators intent on attacking Israeli targets may sneak into Israel from Egypt. The move comes two days after militants blasted open the territory's border with Egypt.

"An expansion of security measures is needed in response to the large numbers of people entering the Sinai from Gaza. We have reason to believe some of these people may later attempt to infiltrate Israel from Sinai."

Dichter told a meeting of senior police officers that a year had passed since the first-ever suicide bombing in Eilat last January that killed three Israelis. The former Shin Bet chief said that Israel must ensure greater security measures are carried out so that terrorists don't try to sneak into Israel from Sinai hidden among African refugees.

by Haaretz (reposted)
Thursday Jan 24th, 2008 1:51 PM
A few Israel Defense Forces Engineering Corps officers surely shed a tear yesterday while viewing the television reports from Rafah: The barrier built by the IDF with blood and sweat along the Philadelphi Route, on the Gaza Strip border with Egypt, was coming down.

It was, apparently, the final remnant of Israel's years of occupying the Strip. But Israel has better reasons to be worried by what happened yesterday. In destroying the wall separating the Palestinian and Egyptian sides of Rafah, Hamas chalked up a real coup. Not only did the organization demonstrate once again that it is a disciplined, determined entity, and an opponent that is exponentially more sophisticated than the Palestine Liberation Organization. It also took the sting out of the economic blockade plan devised by Israel's military establishment, an idea whose effectiveness was doubtful from the beginning but whose potential for international damage was not.

Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority are now forced to find a new joint border control arrangement, one that will probably depend on the good graces of Hamas. If the PA is indeed interested in taking responsibility for the border crossings, as Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has declared, it will have to negotiate with Hamas even though President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to avoid that at any cost. The other option - to leave the border untended - is even worse.

by Mike Novack
Friday Jan 25th, 2008 6:14 AM
The Egyptians can scarcely come out and say something like "The Israelis must continue to OCCUPY Palestinian territory".

The Israelis have already pulled out* of Gaza. At any time they can fully abandon any attempt to control the Gazan's side of their borders with the outside world and let "devil take the hindmost".

* "occupation" means some attempt to hold control ground. Even as the Palestinains are allowed all the rights and forced to assume all the responsibilities of statehood they end up having to deal with "war" -- and that has different rules than "occupation". Thus if rockets/mortar shells are fired into Israel from the Palestinain side, the Israelis can choose to say "that's war" and if an Israeli armoured column balsts it way thyrough to the firing position to obliterate it (but then leaves) that's not "occupation".