Posted by: Lister | January 23, 2008

Prison Break — Gaza style!

Plenty of smiling Palestinian faces on the news today. Especially from those who have been re-united with family. Gazans flood into Egypt:

Palestinians have poured into the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing through holes blown by explosions along the border wall between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

The scenes came on the sixth day of a blockade of Gaza, imposed by Israel and backed by Egypt, in response to a spike in rocket attacks on Israeli border towns.

Before dawn on Wednesday, Palestinian fighters set off at least 15 explosions on the wall running through Rafah separating the two territories, Hamas security forces said.

The security forces later closed most holes, but left two open to allow the flow of human traffic.

[…] El-Kahky said: “Those crossing over have thanked Egypt for not confronting them. Many have bought with them containers for much needed fuel.

“They have also been told by the Hamas leadership in Gaza that they should respect Egyptian security forces, get what they need, and return to Gaza.”

It’s not clear how long the Egyptians will allow the Gazans to stay. Today they say: Egypt ‘won’t force Gazans back’:

Egypt has said it will not use force to send back Palestinians who crossed from the Gaza Strip in large numbers after parts of the border were breached. Foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said the border would be closed again when all the Palestinians had returned.

[…] A total of 350,000 Gazans crossed the Egyptian border, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported.

Hamas has not taken responsibility for breaching the border but quickly moved in to police it, the paper said, confiscating seven pistols from a man returning to Gaza.

[…] The BBC’s Tim Franks in Rafah on the Gaza-Egypt border says it will be difficult for the Egyptians to reseal the border on their own, and Hamas has very little incentive to co-operate.

Palestinians have broken through the border before, in 2005, and it was quickly resealed with barbed wire, but reports say that on this occasion two-thirds of the border wall was destroyed.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya has called for urgent talks with Egypt and his Palestinian rival, President Mahmoud Abbas, on border crossings.

“We do not want to control everything, we are part of the Palestinian people,” Mr Haniya said, apparently in response to an offer from Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayad to control Gaza’s borders – so far rejected by Israel.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since last June.

In recent months the border has been mostly sealed, in an understanding between Israel and Egypt.

The WaPost:

The seven-mile barrier was blown out for hundreds of yards at a stretch. Mines tore through steel fences and blast walls, starting at 2 a.m. local time, residents said. In places, it looked as though mechanical equipment had been used to bulldoze the blast walls completely.

[…] Shamalla, of Gaza City, crossed the border with her husband, three children and other relatives, bringing with them only milk for her 3-month-old. The family used its last bit of fuel in the car to make the trip.

Shamalla’s mother lives in Cairo. But Shamalla said that she never was able to obtain the ID card she needs to cross into Egypt, so the women have not seen each other in 10 years.

Police from the militant Islamic group Hamas, which controls Gaza, directed the traffic over the border, the Associated Press reported. Egyptian border guards took no action and did not keep track of those who crossed. Rumor among those leaving Gaza was that Egypt would keep the border open four days.

[…] Hamas leaders called on Egypt and the rival Palestinian political faction Fatah to work with them and establish new arrangements for crossing the Gazan-Egyptian border, wire services reported. The Fatah-based government of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas immediately rejected the idea, according to the Associated Press. Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah seven months ago, and the two groups have not had formal contact since.

[…] Some of those who fled Gaza said they were coming just for the thrill of travel, after years of stringent border restrictions.

“Two years, we were not able to go out!” said Amial Tarazi, an office worker in Gaza City, who had climbed over the wall in heels and a dress, alongside two co-workers in jackets and ties.

“We don’t care about buying anything. We’re going just to see Egypt, just to get out,” she said.

Near the wall, a Hamas security officer who had been trapped on the Egyptian side since Hamas took over spotted his mother and sisters and brothers in the crowd, and fell into their arms.

“Eight months, I haven’t seen him,” his mother said, clinging to his arm.

The Hamas official declined to talk to a reporter. “I’m on the wanted list” by Israel, he said, by way of explanation.

[…] Gazans headed back to the strip lugging cartons of cigarettes, cheese, diesel and other goods.

Many herded goats, newly bought, back toward Gaza. Pickup trucks carried just-purchased heifers, and three people tugged the ropes of camels acquired in Egypt.



  1. BRAVO! So glad someone (Egypt) is paying attention to the suffering caused by the illegitimate “state” of Israel. As a historian I have always known the secret that has been kept from the American people. ISRAEL WAS FOUNDED ON TERROR!!!

    I have never seen a high school or college text that mentions the Irgun or the Stern gangs with more than a cursory glance.

    It was these two terror organizations that ethnically cleansed neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Bombed the King David Hotel (1946), killing 91 people, including 17 Jews.

    When are we going to wake up? The Jews have a homeland. It is the USA! There are more Jews here than in the “state” of Israel.

    Lets dump this ridiculous idea of a theocratic state and welcome them home.

  2. Thank god for Egypt, they are doing the right thing ,the only thing they could do in this situation.

    The US policy towards the gaza situation makes me sick. Palestinians and Irish stand united.

  3. Amen Graham! I don’t see how these American Evangelicals have held sway over this government for as long as they have.

    the average American simply doesn’t understand they are doing our country more harm than good by supporting the Israeli occupation.

    Its just plain sad these Evangelical churches are allowed to brainwash children with the blessing of this administration and congress.

    They decry the role of Madrassas in Islamic countries, but fail to see they are no better.

    Have you seen “Jesus Camp”? Scary!

  4. The Jews have a homeland. It is the USA! There are more Jews here than in the “state” of Israel.

    Lets dump this ridiculous idea of a theocratic state and welcome them home.

    A welcome is fine, of course, but I’d just like to point out that I see no reason for people to move en masse to the USA.

    One state, with Hebrew and Arabic both official languages and equal rights for all residents, seems like the best solution to me now. I don’t know anymore whether a two-state solution can be made to work. It seems to get less likely all the time.

    And, while I applaud Egypt standing back this time, I think the Egyptians lost control when the numbers trying to cross the border got too large. This only happened because the Palestinians made it happen. The Egyptians used force to prevent Palestinians leaving Gaza the day before.

  5. Not opposed to a “one state solution”. I think it is a pipe dream with all the water on the bridge. I would love to see it happen, however, as I believe any nation based on religion or ethnicity is a disgrace.

    Now, the Peel Commission solution is one I can see working. I’m sure you are familiar with it, but I’ll post a link for those who are not.

    I know it is a wiki, but in the interest of expediency…

  6. PS. Thank you for providing a forum that is based on rational dialogue. I’ll be back!

  7. Taking a quick look at the map of the Peel Commission proposal, I don’t think that idea is going to work. A two-state idea may still be possible. But not with that map.

    Haaretz has today published an article, “Rebranding the left”, about the growing popularity of the one-state solution. I’ve blogged a post on that, so we can discuss it there if you like.

    And please feel free to link to your own blog.

  8. So, you think Jews, Christians and Muslims can live in harmony under one government? I’d love to believe that, but after seeing what has transpired in Africa, Northern Ireland and 20th century Palestine I’m very doubtful.

    The reason the Peel Commission map appeals to me is that it has contiguous borders. The current three state model the “Roadmap” advocates just won’t be accepted by the majority on either side.

    Security under such a map would be impossible (esp. for the Palestinian states) .

    Ancient Judah and Israel existed under such a North/South scenario

    How do you see the one state model working? What are the mechanics? Parliamentary/Federal…etc?

  9. Yes, I do think a one-state solution can be made to work. Can I give all the details of how? No. But then no-one seems to have worked out the details of a workable two-state solution. Not yet, anyway.

    The Peel Commission map stands no chance at all. It would require too many people to move home. Israelis are not going to volunteer en masse to move to the USA. Or even another part of Israel.

    At least some part of the land is going to have to be shared. I think it’s too late to segregate the populations. Their living spaces mix too much.

    As for signs that they can live together… Some people on both sides are beginning to see it as the only option. See the article I linked above. (Or the newer post)

  10. I hope those who advocate this position are correct. It would truly be wonderful! I just worry that too much blood has been let.

    Maybe the two groups have grown? Perhaps I am too cynical.

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