24 January, 2008

Mr. Mubarak tears...well, lets Hamas tear down that wall

The seige of Gaza is broken, at least for a moment and at least for Rafah, by Hamas. Yesterday the group destroyed a half-mile section of the wall along the Gaza-Egypt border, allowing those trapped in Gaza to walk across to buy food, medicines, and other supplies whose prices have skyrocketed since Israel stopped admitting supplies into the area. Rafah, a Berlin-esque city since Egypt sealed the Gaza border, became the unexpected host of reunions on both sides of the broken wall.

The general opinion of those crossing the border, says the New York Times report, has shifted away from blaming Hamas for the recent hardship brought on by the Israeli seige, to a hesitant approval over opening the border.

Though this article seems overly optimistic in its predicitons of drastic changes in the Egypt-Gaza relationship:

“This may be a blessing in disguise,” [a senior Israeli official] said. “On the level of smuggling, weapons and so on, it makes no difference. But if it continues like this, it will ease tremendously the pressure on Israel on the humanitarian level. The humanitarian organizations will get off our backs. There won’t be any shortages. So that is a good thing. We don’t care if people buy food in Egypt. And terrorists come in anyway.
Another Israeli official said of the border: “Instead of being unofficially open, it will now be officially open. We are starting to talk about it. Some people in the Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry and prime minister’s office are very happy with this. They are saying, ‘At last, the disengagement is beginning to work.’ ”

It seems despite the momentary enthusiasm that it is unlikely anything involving inter-state or border policies will change. Still, Egypt comes out of this one (so far) looking all the more humane for the ordeal.


Elliot said...

Is that an Israeli official admitting that sealing off Gaza is the worst of both worlds? I think it is. But the hilarious part is that the second Israeli quote is actually claiming success for the policy that the first quote acknowledges to be so utterly irrational.

Yes, they must really be giddy: "Finally! We have succeeded in starving Gaza until it explodes, leading the world to blame us and strengthening the appeal of Hamas within the Territories! And all the while there is no net affect on arms movement or terrorism! Brilliant!"

Eremita said...

Yep, they've pretty much figured out an airtight policy. Wonder who they could be learning from?