The Unholy Return of the Palestinian Pilgrims

[Jerusalem Post] Zvi Mazel - Under the joint agreement signed by Egypt, Israel, the PA, and the EU following Israel's unilateral disengagement from Gaza, the checkpoint at Rafah between Gaza and Egypt was to have been closely monitored by EU inspectors and double-checked by Israel through video surveillance. However, the Hamas takeover of Gaza led to the flight of the EU inspectors, who feared for their lives, and ultimately to the closing of the checkpoint. Israeli Defense Minister Barak came back from a visit to Egypt last week with a firm Egyptian commitment to have the Palestinians cross through the Kerem Shalom checkpoint so that Israel could make sure that no explosives or cash for Hamas would go through. Yet Egypt was not prepared to be portrayed any longer in the Arab media as a country persecuting innocent pilgrims in order to do Israel's bidding. Though Egypt has made peace with Israel, it is first and foremost an Arab country aspiring to regional leadership, and wholeheartedly on the side of the Palestinians in their struggle against Israel. The idea that Egyptian soldiers would be instructed to stop smuggling at all costs is ludicrous in that context. The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt.

2008-01-03 01:00:00

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