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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Europeans want to open a shipping lane to Gaza

But of course, the Euroweenies want to open a shipping lane to Gaza. There's just one little catch: Gaza doesn't have a port that is capable of accommodating cargo ships.
According to diplomatic sources the EU has floated a plan for Gaza-bound ships to be inspected in Cyprus to ensure that no weapons are on board.

A European vessel would then accompany the ship to Gaza. In an alternative plan the ship would dock first in Ashdod to be inspected by Israel and then proceed under similar accompaniment to Gaza.

The diplomatic sources did not address the technical problems posed by the fact that Gaza’s port is not large enough to accommodate cargo ships.

Even before Israel imposed a naval blockade on Gaza, no cargo ships sailed there. Historically, all goods that entered the area in bulk did so by land.

The head of the Palestinian Federation of Industry in Gaza, Amr Hamad, told the Post that the business sector has separately proposed a plan by which ferry boats would meet the cargo ships close to the shore and bring the cargo into the port. He said that such a plan was discussed this week with Quartet special envoy Tony Blair, who was in the region.

He stressed that the business community in Gaza at present preferred that the goods head first to Ashdod, so as to maintain a relationship with the Israeli customs envelope. The business sector in Gaza is not ready to break its economic ties with Israel, he added.

An Israeli official told the Post that the government was very skeptical about any proposal for an international body, including the EU, to monitor Gaza-bound ships.
I guess the 'business sector' in Gaza still knows on which side the bread is buttered.

But there's another little problem the Europeans are ignoring.
Earlier this week French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said, “We all understand why there must be no more arms in this enclosed Gaza Strip.” But he added that he believed the EU could help prevent that.

The EU “can easily monitor the cargoes of boats heading for Gaza. We can do this. We want to do it and we would do it very willingly.”

He also called for the EU to send its monitors, otherwise known as the European Border Assistance Mission, back to the Rafah crossing from Gaza into Egypt, which was built for pedestrian passage.

The work of those monitors was halted for security reasons, after the 2007 coup in which Hamas threw Fatah out of Gaza.

Fatah was stationed on the Gaza side of all four crossings: Rafah on the Egyptian border and the Israeli border crossings of Kerem Shalom, Karni and Erez.

All agreements relating to those crossings involved Israel and the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas.

EUBAM in Rafah operated under a 2005 agreement, which it had with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Since 2007 its representatives have sat in Ashkelon, under the terms of the 2005 agreement, in hopes that they would be able to return to Rafah.

Last week Egypt opened the Rafah borders, as it has done intermittently in the last three years, without EUBAM.

Diplomatic sources said if EUBAM returned it would be under the terms of the 2005 agreement. The sources did not address the the internal conflict between Fatah and Hamas, which to date has made it impossible to revive that agreement.

If anything, the sources said, the EU wants to also station EUBAM at the Kerem Shalom and Karni crossings, where goods now enter the area. They did not mention the Erez pedestrian crossing.
Isn't this amazing: EUBAM inspectors have been paid for the last three years to sit in Ashkelon and do nothing. Sounds just like the Fatah 'employees' in Gaza, doesn't it? Nice work if you can get it. Oh, and also unmentioned is how the Europeans left Gaza in 2007 - they brush over that by saying it happened as a result of the Hamas coup. The truth is that the Europeans fled and no one would be surprised if they did so again.

Would you want to rely on these 'inspectors'?


At 10:15 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel would be foolish to turn over its security to the Europeans. Israel must be able to inspect all cargo in Ashdod. Any European plan which tries to by-pass or ignore Israeli sovereignty is doomed to failure. And without Israel's cooperation, nothing will get to Gaza and the only way the Europeans can make it happen is if they impose it on Israel by force and they lack the military muscle to do it.

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

I wonder if the nazis - I mean europeans are planning to build a port there?

Did you know that the islamic slave state of Mauretania, in Africa, is part of Euro-Med? it is also nowhere near the Med?


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