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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Egypt smells the coffee?

'Our friends the Egyptians may finally be starting to understand that they cannot support terror with one hand and collect American aid with the other.

After letting senior Hamas terror operatives travel to Iran and Lebanon for training while allowing Muslim pilgrims to leave the Gaza Strip for the hajj in Mecca, the Egyptians are now holding the returning 'Palestinians' on ferries in the Red Sea outside the Sinai port of Nuweiba, trying to force them to agree to return to Gaza via the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing. It goes without saying that if they return via Kerem Shalom the terrorists will be arrested, and because of that the 'Palestinians' want to return via Rafah.
Hamas said there were a total of 1,900 pilgrims who had been waiting since Friday in the Red Sea.

The Palestinians were refusing to accept food or medicines until they received permission to use Rafah and some even threatened to set the ferries on fire. [That would be a neat trick. Set the ferries on fire with themselves on them? Let them do it. CiJ]

Israel filed a complaint with Cairo after Egypt allowed the Palestinians to pass through Rafah on their way to Mecca and after Defense Minister Ehud Barak's recent visit to Egypt, Israeli officials said the Egyptians agreed to have the pilgrims use Kerem Shalom Crossing on there way back to Gaza.

IDF intelligence estimates released on December 5 indicated that up to a couple of dozen Hamas terrorists were among the so-called pilgrims Egypt allowed out of the Gaza Strip. In recent years, hundreds of Hamas terrorists have traveled abroad to Iran and Lebanon for military training, and officials said it was possible that these terrorists would do the same.

The IDF also fears that if the pilgrims are allowed to return to Gaza through Rafah they might smuggle millions of dollars to Hamas. [Why would anyone think they would do that? CiJ]

Senior Palestinian officials dismissed Israel's concerns, saying the Egyptians could search the pilgrims for smuggled cash.

"Israelis raise trivial issues and complicate things to cover up criticism over continued construction of settlements," said Mohammed Sobeih, the Arab League's undersecretary general.

The standoff angered Hamas, who said Egypt has a responsibility to bring the pilgrims back to Gaza as quickly as possible.

Some 5,000 people waving Palestinian and Hamas flags gathered on the Gaza side of the border with Egypt on Saturday and demanded the pilgrims be allowed to enter.

"We won't accept any excuse for preventing the pilgrims from returning," read a banner carried by one of the protesters.

Egyptian riot police arrived and mounted a machine gun on a building overlooking the corridor separating Egypt from Gaza. Hamas security positioned themselves between the protesters and the border gate.

In Gaza late Friday, angry Hamas loyalists fired their guns in the air and lobbed sound bombs in protest of Egypt's actions. The rioting was quickly quelled by Hamas security.

Hamas government spokesman Taher Nunu said Saturday that 1,900 pilgrims are caught in limbo at sea and urged Egypt "to urgently end their plight."

"We in the government and the people refuse to use (the Israeli) crossing. The pilgrims have the right to return the same way they exited," he said.

Hamas lawmaker Yehia Moussa said Egypt has a moral obligation to bring the pilgrims back home.

"We demand an immediate end to the situation before we get to popular reactions with undesired consequences," he said.

Moussa said it was not a threat, but "the public has the right to protest and revolt against the closure."
I'd love to see the Egyptians actually open fire. Don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen.


At 8:18 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its kind of amusing. Egypt is stuck with people Israel doesn't want. Hamas can't even competently run its own reichlet.


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