Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, September 2013
Egypt's New Rulers Tightened the Israeli Siege of Gaza Strip by Destroying Tunnels and Closing Rafah Crossing
MP Bahar calls on Egypt to open Rafah crossing permanently
[ 02/09/2013 - 03:51 PM ]
The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) has called on the Egyptian authorities to stop its campaign of demolishing the border tunnels which are used to bring vital supplies into the besieged Gaza Strip.
Dr. Ahmed Bahar, first deputy chairman of the PLC, said in a press conference held on Monday morning at the Rafah crossing, that these tunnels constituted the life line for the besieged strip since 2007.
These tunnels are an exceptional solution till the opening of the Rafah crossing permanently for individuals and goods, he said, calling on Egyptian authorities not to take part in the Israeli and American plans to starve the children of Gaza.
Bahr expressed deep concern over the Egyptian campaign to destroy all the tunnels, the arrest of a group of Gaza's fishermen and the closure of Rafah crossing by Egyptian authority as part of its collective punishment that violates international law.
He called on Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah crossing permanently.
He stressed the need to release the five arrested fishermen who were detained on Friday by Egyptian Navy, denouncing targeting their fishing boats by Egyptian fire.
He stressed the historical and social relations shared between the neighboring countries, denouncing all suspicious attempts to drive a wedge between Gaza and Egypt.
We confirm our keenness to maintain security in Egypt. The Egyptian security is an integral part of Palestinian national security, he said, calling to stop the suspicious media incitement against Gaza and the resistance.
He praised the Egyptian support for the Palestinian cause during past decades, saying that Palestinians and the Egyptians are united against the enemies' schemes.
Egypt after military coup… from Free trade zone to buffer zone
[ 02/09/2013 - 12:19 PM ]
Egypt's military authorities have bulldozed Egyptian homes along the Gaza Strip border in order to destroy the tunnels linking Egyptian Rafah to the Strip, despite the fact that those tunnels serve as a life line for the besieged strip.
Hundreds of tunnels have been dug under the Egyptian-Palestinian borders since the unjust Israeli siege imposed on the strip in 2007, where more than 20 thousand Palestinians work to bring vital supplies into the besieged Gaza Strip.
The tunnels had helped over the past years the Gaza population to survive the difficult humanitarian situation, especially during the two Israeli wars.
It is worth mentioning that the Egyptian military authorities have launched a campaign to destroy tunnels linking between the Egyptian and Palestinian Rafah.
A state of tension has prevailed in the Egyptian Rafah where hundreds of Egyptian residents took to the streets to protest against destroying their homes by Egyptian army.
The residents have expressed their anger over the demolition of their houses especially that they were not allowed to take their belongings out.
The Egyptian army has notified many families living close to the border with the Gaza Strip of its intention to demolish their homes.
The military aimed to create a building-free zone with no trees 600 meters (1,640 feet) wide and 14 kilometers long starting at the Rafah border crossing and ending at the Mediterranean Sea.
A big difference has been noticed after Egypt's military coup, since early July, in dealing with residents along the Egyptian-Palestinian borders.
A free trade zone was planned to be established on the Egyptian - Palestinian border, during Morsi's rule, aiming to end the tunnel trade which amounted to nearly one billion dollars per year to Egypt.
The Gaza government rejected the Egyptian intention to create a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip.
Ehab Ghussain, spokesman for the government, said that there should be no buffer zones “between brothers and friendly countries.”
Ghussain expressed hope that the Egyptian move would not “reinforce the blockade” and increase the suffering of the people in the Gaza Strip, calling for establishing a free trade area instead of a buffer zone.
For his part, Maher Al-Tabbaa, a Gaza-based economist, warned of demolishing the tunnels without establishing a free trade zone, saying that it would cause an economic, social, and humanitarian crisis in the besieged strip.
Nearly 90% of the smuggling tunnels along the border with the Gaza Strip have stopped functioning as a result of Egypt’s security measures, he pointed.
Demolishing the tunnels without an alternative solution would tighten the Israeli siege imposed since 2007, he added.
Egyptian analyst warns Palestinian factions of Sisi’s provocations
[ 02/09/2013 - 10:08 AM ]
Dr. Seifuddin Abdulfattah, a political science professor at Cairo University, has ruled out the possibility that Egyptian defense minister Abdulfattah Al-Sisi would attack Gaza.
He told the PIC that Sisi would not get involved in an open and direct war with Gaza, adding that he does not have the ability to do so.
He said, however, that Sisi could provoke the Palestinian resistance factions on the border to drag them into direct military action.
The professor advised the Palestinian resistance factions not to be lured into retaliating to Sisi’s provocations.
Abdulfattah said that the Egyptian army’s demolition streak of houses in Egyptian border city of Rafah, evacuation of homes and expelling inhabitants from them would only increase the tension in the Sinai Peninsula.
Hamas denies Egyptian claims of destroying Qassam gunboats
[ 02/09/2013 - 03:57 PM ]
Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri has denied Egyptian interior ministry’s allegation that the Egyptian navy had destroyed six gunboats belonging to the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, while attempting to infiltrate Egyptian territorial waters.
Abu Zuhri said in a press release on Monday that the allegation was “ridiculous” and completely baseless.
He urged rational people in Egypt to re-evaluate their position vis-à-vis such a “farce” that has gone too far in inciting against the Palestinian people based on a streak of lies in which, regrettably, official circles were now involved.
In a similar statement, Abu Zuhri blasted PA chief Mahmoud Abbas for involvement in that wave of incitement against Hamas and Gaza.
He said that Abbas’s inappropriate statement that Hamas sent 40 of its fighters to Egypt was a “sheer lie” unbecoming of a man claiming to be the president of the Palestinian people.
The spokesman also blasted Abbas for boasting a meeting between representatives of his Fatah faction and Israelis under the slogan “we want to win the Israelis to our side”.
He described such an act and statement as a political and national degradation.
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