Friday, May 17, 2013

17-May-13: Gaza's gates to Egypt are now chained and padlocked. Could this too be Israel's doing?

Image Source: where the headline above it reads
"Egypt police close Gaza border to protest kidnap of colleagues"
Those who hold fast to the Gaza-is-the-world's-largest-prison-and-the-Israelis-made-it-so meme can skip the report that follows.
Angry Egyptian policemen close crossing with Gaza | GAZA (Reuters) Friday, May 17, 2013 | Egyptian policemen blocked the crossing into the Gaza Strip on Friday to protest against the kidnapping of Egyptian security forces in the Sinai, witnesses and sources said. Locals said police had placed barbed wire across the entrance to the border and closed the gates with chains, leaving hundreds of Palestinians stranded on both sides of the fence. Islamist gunmen abducted seven Egyptian security forces on Thursday and have demanded the release of imprisoned militants in exchange for the men. Three of those abducted have worked at the Rafah crossing, sources said. The police at Rafah are calling on Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi to free their colleagues, the sources said.
Meanwhile on the Hamas side of the Egypt/Gaza border
Hamas tightens border security in Gaza, slams kidnapping of security officers as an 'act of cowardice' | Ahram Online, Thursday 16 May 2013 | The Hamas government has tightened security on the border of the Gaza Strip after the kidnapping of seven Egyptian security officers at dawn Thursday. In a statement released Thursday noon, the Islamist Gaza rulers condemned the kidnapping of the Egyptian officers, dubbing it “an act of cowardice.” The group also offered to assist Egyptian security to find the kidnappers behind the operation and bring them to justice. The kidnapped officers include one member of the armed forces, four port security officers, and two state security officers. They were abducted at a checkpoint near the Green Valley — on a road connecting Rafah and Al-Arish — in North Sinai, Reuters reported.
The Egyptian media spins events differently, depicting them as a function of domestic Egyptian politics. In a report headed "Sinai residents blame interior ministry policies for Thursday kidnapping", the semi-official Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram says today
Many Sinai residents seek to revenge themselves on security forces after years of heavy-handed security policies under Mubarak-era interior minister Habib El-Adly, who many accuse of failing to respect human rights and tribal traditions. Mohamed El-Asati, who hails from Sinai's Aleiqat tribe, told Ahram Online that interior ministry policies had left a painful legacy among local tribesmen, especially during the current rule of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. "The security apparatus did not respect tribal traditions or customs," he said. "We have always been regarded as shepherds, drug traffickers or spies for Israel. So after the revolution, you will find psychological reasons for their desire for vengeance. " He added that there was not a single family in Sinai that did not have at least one son imprisoned, detained or on the run from authorities... According to Sinai-based activist Ashraf El-Hanfy: "The ministry's iron fist is back again in Sinai, just like the days before the revolution. It's even worse under the new rule, which means the revolution did not accomplish its mission in Sinai... There is no real security now in Sinai, but only oppression," he added. "This is the main reason for today's kidnappings."
All of this is too nuanced for those who continue to propagate the version that blames all the problems of Gaza on the nasty Israelis. Doctrinaire ideologues like Noam Chomsky, the Australian state parliamentarians Shaoquett Moselmane and David Shoebridge and assorted other great and not-so-great analysts surely know that Gaza has a two-way border crossing with its fraternal neighbours, the Moslem Brotherhood-led Egyptians. But they work hard to conceal this from the readers of their Israel-bashing polemics.

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