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  • » 01/24/2008, 00.00

    EGYPT – ISRAEL – PALESTINE

    Egypt blocks Palestinian ‘exodus’ in Rafah



    Since yesterday Egypt’s border police has allowed some 350,000 Gazans to reach Rafah driven by the need to buy food and fuel. Ordered by Egyptian President Mubarack, police is today stopping cars and people illegally coming through the breaks in the border wall. In Israel the country’s High Court is asked to hear a petition presented by some associations who want the blockade lifted.

    Rafah (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Egyptian security forces are stopping hundreds of Palestinian cars who for the second time in as many days are trying to cross the border through the blown-out wall in search of food, medicines and fuel. The net effect has been that tensions have gradually risen since this morning with brawls and scuffles breaking out between Egyptian border police and “fleeing” Gazans.

    According to the United Nations, more than 350,000 people have crossed the border since yesterday to enter Egypt after parts of the border wall was destroyed overnight Tuesday. This surge by Palestinians into Rafah to buy essential items to take home was set off by Israel’s recent blockade of the Strip which was dealing a crushing blow to the population.

    Initially Egypt remained neutral, allowing Palestinians to cross without hindrance. But now eyewitnesses are saying that Egyptian police are ordering Palestinians to go back to Gaza, beating their cars with truncheons.

    This comes after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarack instructed his border police to stop anyone trying to illegally cross the border.

    Just a few hours earlier a Foreign Ministry spokesperson had announced that the Rafah crossing would remain open because of the “humanitarian crisis.”

    Yesterday Hamas, which rules Gaza, called for an “urgent” meeting with representatives of Egypt and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to study measures for joint control of the border.

    But the PNA rejected the proposal accusing the Islamist group of embarrassing the Egyptians with its wall demolition and trying to get Arab support for its own goals.

    For his part, Khaled Mashaal, the Damascus-based Hamas leader, appealed to the Arab countries to work toward ending the international boycott of the Hamas government and to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip.

    Meanwhile some Israeli and Palestinian organisations have filed a petition with Israel’s High Court to end the blockade. For this the tribunal is set to hold a special hearing on Sunday.

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    See also

    21/06/2007 ISRAEL – PALESTINE
    Fallout from Palestinian crisis to be discussed at four-party summit next Monday
    Egypt, which took the summit initiative, will be joined by the PNA, Israel and Jordan. Abbas’ aides demand the meeting lead to concrete results. Tzipi Livni and Salam Fayyad make first phone contact.

    06/03/2008 PALESTINE - ISRAEL
    Gaza priest: "They want to kill us all slowly"
    Fr Manawel Musallam confirms the inhuman situation of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip under the Israeli blockade, denounced by a report from eight NGO's, the worst humanitarian crisis since 1967. The priest recounts the deaths and traumas among children, and launches a desperate appeal to the international community.

    01/02/2008 PALESTINE - ISRAEL
    The Gaza border is under control, while Egypt is pushing Hamas and Abbas to dialogue
    Cairo hopes to restore the Palestinian Authority as the guarantee of security in Gaza. But dialogue between Abbas and Meshal is still difficult. Human Rights Watch accuses Israel and the international community of creating a "humanitarian crisis" in the Gaza Strip.

    03/01/2009 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    Israel kills another Hamas leader. Gaza offensive continues
    Abu Zakaria al-Jamal has been killed. Khaled Mashaal is threatening Tel Aviv, and urging the Muslim world to unite. Demonstrations in many Islamic countries. Humanitarian crisis worsens.

    25/02/2008 PALESTINE – ISRAEL
    Human chain against Gaza blockade
    Demonstration goes off peacefully but draws only 5,000 people, a tenth of what was expected, because of bad weather according to organisers. About 50 youths briefly approached the Erez crossing where they threw stones at the Israelis.



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