Israel Weighs Presence on Gaza-Egyptian Border

(Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew) Diana Bahur-Nir - A special task force set up by Prime Minister Sharon and headed by Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland, that is considering an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, is weighing the future of the "Philadelphia Road," a strategic strip of territory running along the Egyptian border. The Israeli presence there blocks the flow of weapons into Gaza, and security sources are weighing the possibility of maintaining control of this strip even after a withdrawal from Gaza. Minister Gideon Ezra, who supports the Gaza withdrawal, said: "We have to remain there [on the border]. Otherwise, weapons will be smuggled in freely. If 'Philadelphia' is left open, then Palestinians can go south along the Egyptian border and enter Israel from the Negev." "It's also not clear if Egypt wants an open border with Gaza," he said. "I'm not sure they are interested in the export of radical Islam."

2004-02-17 00:00:00

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