01/25/2008, 00.00
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Egypt tries to close Rafah crossing as Hamas bulldozes new openings along the wall

by Joshua Lapide
Stopping the human wave seeking basic items is becoming almost impossible. Israeli officials fear terrorists have infiltrated the Sinai to launch attacks across the border but fear even more Palestinian civilians who might push across Gaza’s border with Israel. Pledges made in Annapolis appear moot as violence grows.

Gaza (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Egyptian border guards appeared to be taking steps to put up those parts of the barrier with the Gaza Strip that were blown up three days ago. Elsewhere though, Hamas militants are bulldozing new openings.

This afternoon (3 pm local time) Egyptian security forces began stopping Palestinians from entering Egypt to buy essential items they have not been able to get because of the Israeli blockade and the international embargo. Soldiers formed a cordon, used water cannons and even fired in the air. They eventually succeeded in stemming the human flow trying to get through, fed up with the Israeli embargo imposed seven months ago when Hamas took power in the Strip.

Since the border wall was opened up some 700,000 Palestinians, half of the Strip’s population, have crossed into Egypt to buy food, fuel, fridges, small generators, soap, water, medicines, cigarettes, any item made scarce by the embargo.

However according to Israel’s defence Ministry terrorist groups have taken advantage of the situation to get weapons and plan future attacks against Israel from the Sinai. For this reason Israeli troops remain on high alert along the country’s border with Egypt.

For other analysts Israeli officials are equally if not more concerned that Gazans might try to break through the Strip’s border with Israel thus forcing the Israeli defence Forces to come into direct contact with tens of thousands of Palestinians frustrated and impoverished by years of Israeli control.

Two months since the Annapolis summit and a few weeks since George Bush’s pledge for a solution within a year, chances for peace are getting fewer and fewer. Everything seems to be pushing towards further violence.

For instance, rockets launched from Gaza are still landing on towns in southern Israel, and Jewish settlements in the West Bank are still expanding.

In the latest round of violence Jewish settlers yesterday shot dead two Palestinians in the settlement of Kfar Etzion and Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli border policeman.

And overnight Israeli forces killed four Hamas militants, including Hamas leader Mohammed Abu Harb.

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See also
The Gaza border is under control, while Egypt is pushing Hamas and Abbas to dialogue
Gaza to pass under Palestinian Authority control by December 1st
12/10/2017 16:17
The cease-fire in Gaza holds: Hamas and Israel sing victory
Tensions in Rafah, thousands of Palestinians surge over the Egyptian border
Human chain against Gaza blockade


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