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Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by LadyEagle, Sep 12, 2005.
thanks for the post
Black market prices for weapons and bullets have dropped sharply in Gaza in recent days because of intensive smuggling across the wide-open Gaza-Egypt border, Palestinian officials and arms smugglers said today.
The frontier used to be heavily guarded by Israel, but thousands have crossed in both directions since Israeli troops withdrew on Monday. Israel has filed a complaint with Egypt, amid growing concerns that weapons and militants would reach Gaza.....
.....Most of the arms were bought from Bedouins and farmers on the Egyptian side of the border, Khader said. A Palestinian border control officer confirmed arms have been smuggled into Gaza, bringing down prices.
Israel has long been concerned that once it withdraws from the border, arms and militants would be freely smuggled into Gaza.
Gazans have been moving across the border unhampered since Israel withdrew on Monday, buying cigarettes, cheese, petrol and even goats. Many have enjoyed seaside meals at Egyptian resorts, and reunited with family they have been unable to see for years due to Israel’s fortress-like guard of the border.
And in a related story.....
KFAR DAROM, Gaza Strip (AFP) - Officers from Hamas’s militia are vowing to turn Gaza into a huge armed camp devoted to digging Israel’s grave, with tunnels, rocket attacks and a free flow of weapons and militants from Egypt.
“If Israel attacks the West Bank, we will fire rockets from here,” thundered Hamas officer Abu Muad, bouncing his young son on his lap during a “victory parade” in the abandoned Jewish settlement of Kfar Darom in central Gaza.
Ground commanders, with bushy black beards and pistols strapped to their sides, rode defiantly in a convoy of 50 jeeps and SUVs to cheers of Allah Akbar (God is Great) from a rapt crowd. Many officers remained unmasked, in testimony to their soaring confidence after Israel ended its 38-year occupation of the Gaza Strip on Monday.
Commanders from Hamas’s Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades armed wing spoke triumphantly of their post-Israeli withdrawal war strategy from the Gaza Strip. They sketched out a vision of tunnels into Israel, regular rocket attacks on the Jewish state; a free flow of weapons and militants from Egypt; and constant smuggling to the West Bank.
They spoke of their determination to turn the strip of Mediterranean coast, home to 1.3 million people, into an armed camp intent on the destruction of the Jewish state with a Palestinian Authority powerless to stop them.
Hamas militants have destroyed a section of a concrete barrier erected along the Gaza-Egypt border.
Palestinian and Egyptian troops have been trying to shore up the barrier to stop Palestinians crossing into Egypt after the withdrawal of Israeli troops.
In chaotic scenes, thousands of Palestinians have streamed over the border in the last few days without undergoing official checks.
Despite this, Egypt says that its Gaza border is officially closed.
Militants from Hamas cleared an area before setting off explosives that blew away a section of the wall. Palestinian security officers present did nothing to prevent them.
A local Hamas commander warned them not to try to intervene, the AFP news agency reported.
The Egyptian authorities have given a deadline of 1800 (1300 GMT) for people to return to the right side of the Gaza border or they will be arrested.
The mass crossings have raised questions whether Egypt is be able to honour its deal with Israel and maintain security along the border, correspondents say.
Many of those crossing have been going to visit relatives stranded on the other side of the border, to buy cheaper food and other goods, or just out of curiosity.
Israel fears militants will exploit the situation to smuggle weapons into Gaza.
Egypt's ambassador to Israel, Mohammed Asim Ibrahim, has vowed to maintain law and order.
But the diplomat expressed sympathy for Palestinians from Gaza crossing the border.
"You're talking about people who have been physically in prison for the last 38 years. So some elements just rushed to the other side of the border," he added.
Anyone wanna say they never saw this coming ? Our friends in Egypt suddenly seem less than willing to hold up their side. Would Israel be wrong to just say forget it, and raise their flag, once again, over Gaza ?