Between Calm and Chaos

(Ha'aretz) Avi Issacharoff - Huge dramas continue to roll across the Middle East. This week, too, the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad continued to kill civilians and opposition activists who are trying to drive out the regime. In Egypt, preparations for the presidential election are at their height. Amid all the unrest, Gaza and the West Bank are emerging as islands of political and security stability. Next week, on May 14, the Palestinians will mark Nakba Day, recalling what they refer to as the "catastrophe" of 1948: Israel's establishment. This week the leaders of Fatah and the PA worked to ensure that the demonstrations will be confined to the Palestinian cities of the West Bank and will not assume a violent character. A sign of changing times in Gaza can be seen in the bustling activity at the Kerem Shalom crossing. The terminal is packed with trucks, most of them carrying goods from Israel to the Strip, some from Gaza earmarked for overseas. Gaza is no longer under siege. Meanwhile, Egypt has opened the Rafah land crossing for Gazans traveling to Egypt, and it's used by about 1,200 people a day. Egyptian forces in Sinai are being attacked almost daily by armed Bedouin. Some of the latter belong to smuggling squads, others to Global Jihad. At the end of last week, six Egyptian soldiers were kidnapped by Bedouin who demanded the release of their comrades from prison.

2012-05-11 00:00:00

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