Friday, December 02, 2005

Rafah - Terrorists' preferred Border Crossing

Israel's leading Hebrew daily newspaper Yedioth Achronoth published an interesting article on the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt yesterday. Apparently, what is being praised in the German media as a sign of hope and an example of European effectiveness in maintaining Palestinian human rights and assuring Israeli security at the same time, actually aids and abets terrorists. Below is an English abstract of the text.
The Situation at the Rafiah Crossing - Total Neglect
(by Yossi Yehoshua)
Less than a week has gone by since the Rafiah crossing was opened between Gaza and Egypt and the Israeli security establishment is extremely worried by the new reality, which was defined Wednesday by a senior security source as "total neglect." Army sources argue that because of pressure by Secretary of State Rice, the agreement had been signed too hurriedly, without providing an answer to Israeli security needs.
According to the Israeli understanding of the agreement, the Israeli-Palestinian joint command center was supposed to obtain comprehensive information about whomever is passing from Gaza to Egypt and the reverse. In actuality, since the crossing has been opened, Israel only receives pictures of whomever is crossing and only eight minutes or so later information arrives about the identity of the person passing through. In that time, it is possible to go through the crossing without Israeli security authorities knowing the identity of the person. A senior member of the General Security Services remarked: "It's like watching a movie without any voice or subtitles."
After raising the matter with the EU representative, it became clear that there was no common understanding. The EU's Italian general argued that he doesn't recognize a requirement to pass on data to Israel in real time. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, who heads the political-military section of the Ministry of Defense, stated that the critical clause exists: "With this situation, the agreement is worthless." (Yedioth Achronoth, December 1, 2005)
No wonder that several leading Hamas figures have already entered the Gaza Strip through the well-guarded Rafah crossing.


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