Wednesday, January 23, 2008

President Mubarak, Tear That Wall Down!

Since recent Quassam rocket attacks by Hamas into Israeli territory, Israel has shut down border crossings into Gaza and rationed energy and food supplies. Gaza, has in effect, been completely cut off save one crossing into Egypt that smugglers have surreptitiously undermined (literally) by digging tunnels into Egyptian territory. They have been forced to do this because the Egyptians, like the Israelis, refuse to open an official crossing.

In a recent interview with BBC news, Egyptian officials attempted to explain why they will not open the border with Gaza to allow necessary supplies to flow across. They cited the illegal occupation of Gaza by Israel and that any humanitarian assistance (fuel, food, etc.) could be viewed as tacit approval of Israel's presence in Palestine. The BBC's counterclaim centered on the hypocrisy of Arab countries' damnation of closed borders into Israel, while simultaneously not providing any assistance of their own.

Today however, residents of Gaza took the matter into their own hands (or feet) and trampled the border into Egypt. The New York Times described the scene as

"one of a great bazaar, with Palestinians piling donkeys, carts and motorcycles high with goats, mattresses, chickens, televisions, cement and other goods they had been unable to buy in Gaza.”

Eyewitnesses later claimed that Hamas officials both set bombs and used bulldozers to destroy the wall before Palestinians went streaming across. Mubarak allowed Palestinians to pass over citing their terrible plight and predictably did not miss an opportunity to vilify Israel. This, despite the fact that he kept his border closed until it was taken down by force.

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