The Gaza Border Is Closed, But the Bomb Is Ticking

[Ha'aretz] Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff - The next Palestinian attack, kidnapping, or suicide bombing carried out against Israelis in Sinai or the southern Negev is just a matter of time. Hani and Rami Hamdan, the two brothers from Gaza caught on Saturday wearing explosive belts in Sinai by Egyptian security forces, were not operating independently. Just a day earlier the Egyptians arrested 15 armed Palestinians in Sinai, 12 of whom were members of Hamas. Last week, another cell of five Palestinians was arrested near Taba, next to Eilat, and explosive belts were found in their possession. Despite the Egyptian interest to cooperate with Israel to avert attacks, there are Palestinian cells who have evaded the Egyptians and are hiding in the broad expanses of Sinai. These cells are believed to be planning attacks in Sinai, but some will try to penetrate the porous 300-km. Israel-Sinai border. Egypt is now dependent on the goodwill of Hamas. If Hamas wishes, the border at Rafah remains sealed. If it does not, thousands of Palestinians will be allowed to rush into Sinai. However, Egyptian cooperation with Hamas over the Rafah crossing means a perpetuation of Hamas rule in Gaza and a deepening of the rift between Fatahland in the West Bank and Hamastan in Gaza.

2008-02-04 01:00:00

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