by Khalid Amayreh -- January 31, 2008 -- Palestinian Information Center
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has vehemently rejected Hamas
demands that only Palestinian and Egyptian authorities be allowed to run
the Rafah border crossing.
"We will not accept any new conditions; they (Hamas) have to go back to
the old border-crossing agreement. We are more interested in the
Palestinian people's interests than Hamas is. If Hamas is really for them
as well, let them comply with this agreement."
Well, does Abbas really know what he is talking about? Indeed, as the Arab
proverb goes, if he knows, it is a real calamity, and if he doesn?t, it is
even a greater calamity.?
I am saying this because the old agreement governing operations at the
Rafah Border-Crossing enables Israel, the country that has been trying to
decimate 1.5 million Gazans by way of starving them, to have the final say
as to when the border terminal may be opened and when it will be closed.
We all remember how thousands of Palestinians, including students,
patients, pilgrims and other travelers, were left stranded on the Egyptian
side of the border for weeks and months because an Israeli officer on the
Israeli side of the border decided to keep these helpless victims hostage
to his whims and cannibalistic instincts.
In fact, this wicked sadism, which Mr. Abbas is defending doggedly now,
was responsible for the death of dozens of Palestinians who were left
stranded in the desert, as if they were animals, not human beings. Go back
to relevant reports describing the plight of stranded Gazans and you will
understand what I am talking about.
How did Israel manage to keep the border-crossing closed most of the days
of the year? Well, it was very simple. According to the ?wonderful?
agreement Abbas is now demanding that Hamas accept unconditionally, the
Rafah border terminal can?t be operational unless in the presence of EU
monitors. But the monitors themselves, who hail from several EU countries
and some of them may well be working for the Israeli Intelligence, are
based in the small Israeli kibbutz of Kerem Shalom, a few miles away from
the border terminal. And according to the infamous agreement, they can?t
have a free access to the border terminal unless they receive beforehand a
daily permit from the Israeli army.
For its part, the Israeli army, acting on instructions from the
government, would simply and routinely declare the only road from Kerem
Shalom to the Rafah border terminal a closed military zone in order to
keep the border-crossing closed. Of course, the army would concoct
?security reasons? to justify the virtually perpetual closure, but
everyone , including the Israelis themselves, know quite well that genuine
security considerations have very little to do with the Israeli measures
and that the real motive is to punish and torment the Palestinians.
As mentioned, this flagrant abuse of authority was not done one day or two
days or even ten days per month. This was the norm, the modus operandi,
and the border crossing was kept closed 26 or even 29 days per month,
causing tremendous suffering to the Palestinians.
It was a deliberate and calculated process intended to torment, savage,
brutalize and humiliate the people of Gaza, and it was all done under the
rubric of an ?international agreement.?
The EU leadership and member-states knew well what was going on at Kerem
Shalom. But they were too morally dishonest and too subservient to Israel
and the United States to show any meaningful objection to Israel?s
systematic persecution of a helpless people whose men, women and children
are clinging to life just as many of the Jewish inmates at Ghetto Warsaw
did nearly 67 years ago.
So, I would like to ask Abbas and his aides and hangers-on who talk too
much and make so much noise, claiming to serve the vital interests of the
How do you think that re-allowing Israel to control the Rafah border-
crossing would serve the interests of the Palestinian people? Are you
drunk? Are you stupid? Are blind? Are you ignorant?
Besides, why do you think that Israel should be involved in running the
Rafah border- crossing in the first place? Isn?t the border crossing an
exclusively Egyptian-Palestinian crossing? Didn?t Israel declare that it
ended its occupation of the Gaza Strip? Has not the Zionist regime been
saying ad nauseam that it is no longer responsible for Gaza? If so, why do
you insist that the slave master remain the ultimate decision-maker, the
ultimate boss? This is sickening, to say the least and it shows a kind of
umbilical subservience on your part to the nefarious occupiers.
I realize that there are problems between Fatah and Hamas. However,
betraying the Palestinian people and undermining their vital interests for
the purpose of weakening Hamas and appeasing Israel and pleasing
Washington borders on treason, pure and simple.
What else can be said of and about clinging to an unconscionable agreement
that allows the evil occupiers to imprison, torment and humiliate us with
impunity?because the ?agreement? says so.
Well, the agreement may go to hell along with those who signed it.
In short, Hamas is right a hundred per cent. The Rafah border crossing
must be jointly run exclusively by the Palestinian and Egyptian
authorities. And the Ramallah regime may, if it wants, take part in
managing the border terminal, as part of an overall reconciliation process
between Gaza and Ramallah.
However, brining Israel into the picture is unacceptable. The people of
Gaza have suffered more than enough at the hands of Israel. Their murderer
and tormentor must never be allowed to be jailer as well.
Is Abbas going to understand this? I doubt it.