Sunday, November 02, 2014

02-Nov-14: In Gaza, puzzlement all over again

Essential goods cross over from Israel to the Gaza Strip
in August 2014 [Image Source]
In Gaza, they're evidently at a complete loss to explain some recent developments:
ISRAEL CLOSES TWO GAZA CROSSINGS WITHOUT MENTIONING ANY REASON | Israel will on Sunday close down Gaza's only functioning two crossings, namely Kerem Shalom and Erez. Israeli authorities had told the Palestinian side that they would close down Kerem Shalom, Gaza's only functioning commercial crossing, on Sunday, even without mentioning any reasons, Mounir al-Ghalban, the head of the Palestinian side of the crossing, told Anadolu Agency. He added that Israeli authorities did not mention a date for reopening the crossing, warning against the effect of the crossing closure on Gaza's foodstuff supplies. Israeli authorities will also close down Erez Crossing in northern Gaza, al-Ghalban said. He added that only Palestinians on emergency would be allowed to cross between the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank through the crossing. [Daily Sabah (a Turkish publication), yesterday]
No reasons? We can help. Here's a little fresh background via Ynet:
Gaza cut off from the world as Israel, Egypt close border crossings | Ynet - Saturday | The Gaza Strip will be completed isolated from the world starting Sunday after Israel decided to close both the Kerem Shalom and Erez border crossings and Egypt has accelerated its plans to create a buffer zone on the Sinai-Gaza border. According to the Arabic Sky News channel, the evacuation of the border area to create a buffer zone was sped up after satellite images showed hundreds of tunnels remaining in the area, even after an intense Egyptian campaign to eliminate them.
While the Egyptian army has managed to destroy 1,500 smuggling tunnels, satellite images exposed hundreds of additional tunnels - some in Rafah mosques, bedrooms and shops. The establishment of a buffer zone in Rafah - a strip of land 14km long and half a kilometer wide - started following a terrorist attack in Sinai that led to the death of 33 Egyptian soldiers. The army began its work on the buffer zone by quickly evacuating and destroying 800 homes, compensating the residents... The Qatari TV network affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood quoted residents and activists who claimed this was the "Egyptian equivalent of the Nakba in '48." Egyptian state media, on the other hand, focused on the citizen's understanding of the operation. Al-Aharam newspaper wrote that evacuated residents were "standing by the state after the terrorists made their lives hell." The rocket fire from Gaza to Israel on Friday is viewed by Israel as the first blatant violation of the ceasefire by Hamas. It led to the decision to close both of the border crossings from Israel to Gaza - Kerem Shalom at the south of the Strip, used to transfer goods, and Erez in the north of the Strip, through which people pass - as a way of pressing Hamas and making it clear to Gazans what is the price of rocket fire.
Kerem Shalom a year ago: trucks laden with goods for
Gaza, lined up and waiting to be received [Image Source]
A pity Daily Sabah doesn't keep its readers more updated on the strategic value of Kerem Shalom to the long-suffering ordinary people of the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip. They might for instance have shared this story with them: "First trucks with reconstruction supplies enter Gaza" [Times of Israel, October 14, 2014]. Or this, if they prefer a Palestinian media source: "Reconstruction material enters Gaza via Kerem Shalom" [Ma'an News Agency, October 30, 2014]. Then again, if they did give proper coverage of what outsiders like the Israelis wish they could do more of for the Gazans, they might have to include a line like this one:
"On the Gaza side of the Kerem Shalom crossing, PA and UN officials are overseeing the shipments to ensure they do not fall into the hands of Hamas, the IDF’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories said." [Times of Israel]
Or this explanation from Associated Press:
"The United Nations, in turn, devised a system under which Israel would gradually ease a ban on selling building materials to Gaza, with U.N. monitors keeping track of shipments in Gaza to make sure they are not diverted by Hamas for military use." [AP, October 22, 2014]
So Hamas is meant to get none of the incoming materials. They are intended for the Gazan people. Comprehending this might take the Daily Sabah people and their readers some way towards understanding why (a) the thugs of Hamas have no problem firing more rockets into Israel, and (b) Israel wants Gazans to understand that Israel-bound rockets fired by Hamas rocket-men from the alleys where they live come at a price.

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