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The siege on Gaza is over


Egypt to open Gaza border crossing
Egypt's foreign minister says Cairo will permanently open the Rafah border crossing to ease Israel's blockade on Gaza.

Egypt is to permanently open the Rafah border crossing to ease the Israeli blockade on Gaza, Nabil al-Arabi, the country's foreign minister, has said.

Arabi said Egypt would take "important steps to help ease the blockade on Gaza in the few days to come".

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Friday, the minister said Egypt would no longer accept that the Rafah border, Gaza's only crossing that bypasses Israel, remain blocked, describing the decision to seal it off as "shameful".

The announcement came days after Hamas, which controls Gaza, and their secular West Bank rivals Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority (PA), agreed to end their rift and form an interim government to prepare for elections.

In talks before the deal, the two sides had discussed reopening the crossing after positioning PA representatives at the border, a condition in a US-brokered 2005 border crossing agreement between Israel and the PA.

Mahmud Zahar, a senior Hamas official, told the AFP news agency that it was understood that the crossing, which under the 2005 agreement was to be monitored by European Union delegates, would be opened after a unity deal.

Israeli concerns

A senior official in Jerusalem said Israel was "very concerned" about the implications of the Rafah crossing being open.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said Hamas had already built up a "dangerous military machine" in northern Sinai which could be further strengthened by opening Rafah.

"What power could they amass if Egypt was no longer acting to prevent that build-up?" the official said.

Earlier this week, unknown assailants in northern Sinai blew up a gas pipeline supplying Israel and Jordan, the second time it has been sabotaged in 10 weeks.

"We are troubled by the developments in Egypt, by the voices calling to annul the peace treaty, by the rapprochement between Egypt and Iran, and by the upgrading of relations between Egypt and Hamas," the Israeli source said.

"These developments potentially have strategic implications for Israel's national security."

Palestinian officials welcomed the Egyptian move, with Saeb Erakat, the PA's chief negotiator, saying it was one step towards loosening the siege on the Gaza Strip.

"We welcome this step by Egypt. We have been pressing them all the time to end the suffering of the people in Gaza, but the real siege is caused by Israel because there are many border crossing with Israel but only one with Egypt," he said.

"We ask Israel to open all the borders to end this crime against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip," he said.

Hatem Ewidah, the Hamas official in charge of border crossings in Gaza, also welcomed the move, but stressed it was "important to open the commercial crossing with Egypt" to reduce the impact of the blockade.

Shift in power

In a reminder of the border tensions, which is honeycombed with tunnels that supply Gaza with everything from cars and cattle to guns, police announced hours after Arabi's comments that smugglers had shot dead an Egyptian soldier on Thursday.

The border has remained largely shut since June 2006 when Israel imposed a tight blockade on Gaza after fighters snatched Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who is still being held.

The blockade was tightened a year later when Hamas seized control of the territory, ousting forces loyal to the Western-backed PA.

The UN has called the blockade illegal and repeatedly demanded it be lifted.

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This sounds like good news.

But I fear that hostilities will increase because of it, and a greater humanitarian disaster may ensue.

ytc's picture

i know that fear. . .

but then, i also know that most improbable miracles do happen. . .

at times our faith in the ultimate goodness, beauty and truth is the only shield we can hide behind to keep us moving forward to keep us FREE and act honorably. . .

Liberty Defined is one such secular book filled with faith and wisdom that we can use now at this precarious time.

I bet the history books will somehow credit Obama for this.

Seriously. They might say that since the CIA engineered the Egyptian revolution, then it was possible to open the Egyptian-Gaza pass. I seriously would not be surprised if modern history books put Obama as a mastermind in this.

I'm Concerned From 10,000 Miles Away,

That Israel has an undetermined number of Nukes in an area that is becoming more and more volatile.
Fukushima is already saturating the whole earth with radio activity. Will humans survive if nukes are set off, or more nuclear power plants fail ? ? ?




Trust in God, military force isn't working.

Israel should open all it's boarders and lay down it's guns.

As should all countries!

2nd Chronicles 7:14
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

"Stand up for what you believe in. Even if you stand alone."
~ Sophie Magdalena Scholl
"Let it not be said that we did nothing."
~ Ron Paul
"You must be the change you want to see in the world."
~ Mahatma Gandhi

My Name.

thanks for the reminder, for healing & restoration.
Laws are conditional, to "IF".
and here in this verse the emphasis is on "My NAME", - -
then - -.

ytc's picture

Beautiful quote, Katherine. Thank you!

A consoling quote to celebrate this good news!!

btw happy beatification today of JP II, the Polish PEACE pope (who visited the holy land in 2000)!

Quote is out of context

God was speaking at the temple, one of the things they are fighting over. The promise was to a specific people at a sprcific time

ytc's picture

AMC, how about the story of repentant Ninevites (Jonah)?

"The wicked bloodthirsty evildoers CAN repent and still receive God's abundant blessings" is the context.

That will mean, there's still hope for BOTH the oppressing Israelites AND the imprisoned Gazans. . . actually the neocon-infested hubristic americans might be the ones most in need of radical repentance and forgiveness. . . to get back on the right track for liberty, peace & prosperity.

** Yup, faith does help us remain eternally optimistic ;-) **



ytc's picture

Wonderful news! NOW we can send in food, medicine and

building materials for the people who were perishing in the open-air prison since June of 2006.

How can we help them? Who are dependable organizers to entrust our goodwill grassroots aids? Caritas?



very nice bump!

Couldn't have said it better!