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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Those Gaza crossings

JPost has an important article in Sunday's editions that gives background about the crossings into Gaza from Israel and why it is impossible to open them in the current environment (click on the photo to enlarge it).
When Israel left Gaza in the summer of 2005, a detailed arrangement called "Agreement on Movement and Access" was made with the PA for the passage of goods and people in and out of the area.

On the Israeli side, people were to move in and out of Erez in the north and commercial goods were to go through Karni in the center. On the Egyptian side in the south, the Rafah border crossing was designated for the passage of people and goods, but an agreement for the passage of people was finalized.

In addition, on the Israeli side, two minor crossing points, Kerem Shalom and Sufa, were set up to operate as backups to Karni, and fuel could go through Nahal Oz.

Since operating the three major crossings - Erez, Karni and Rafah - needed serious coordination on both sides of the border, the PA manned them on the Gaza side. A special EU team was also established to monitor the Rafah crossing.

In the midst of Israel's Gaza withdrawal in 2005, Interior Ministry officials held a press conference at the Erez crossing, at which they earnestly explained that in the peace that would descend within two years, it would be possible to replace the soldiers at the crossing points with trained professional staff so that they would look like any other international border terminal.

Discussions were even launched on operating the Gaza airport and a seaport.

But these plans, along with the elaborate crossing arrangements, were destroyed by the Hamas coup. After that, the PA was no longer able to monitor the crossings, which were also damaged on the Gaza side during the fighting and have yet to be repaired.

Though there were some reports over the weekend of a new willingness to cooperate, Hamas to date has not agreed to allow the PA to return. Since the coup, no solution been found that would place, as an alternative to the PA, a team of Palestinians on the Gaza side to coordinate the movement of goods and people.

Therefore, it is not been possible to fully operate the Erez, Karni and Rafah crossings at the pre-June 2007 level.

To be clear, as long as Hamas remains in power and holds IDF soldier Gilad Schalit captive, Israel won't fully reopen the passages to a level that would allow the free movement of people or enable a flourishing economy in the Gaza Strip.

But even if it wanted to do so, as long as Israel and Hamas refuse to coordinate with each other on the crossings and as long as no alternative body can do so, opening them remains technically impossible, from both a security and logistical perspective.
Read the whole thing.


At 6:59 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The point is Gaza is not going to be rebuilt to its pre-war level any time soon. Gaza's inhabitants have to learn to live with the consequences of their voting for a "love of death" cult of fanatics. As long as Hamas runs Gaza, the devastation there will be an object lesson in the misery of Islamist rule. Israel is under no obligation to make life easier for those who hate and seek to destroy her and its time the world understood that what happened is a consequence of the Palestinians choosing to hate Jews more than to love their own children.

At 8:34 PM, Blogger Rick007 said...

Why do the Palestinians need to cross into Isreal? Let them go by the Egyptan route??

At 8:27 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


The Egyptian crossing is sealed above ground, but wide open underground with smuggling tunnels. The Egyptians don't want the Gazans because many of the Gazans would support the Muslim Brotherhood.


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