Hamas terrorists have blown a hole in the concrete barrier separating Gaza from Egypt. The BBC reports:
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.
I hope that Egypt recognizes that Hamas is as dangerous to it as it is to Israel. It is important for both the safety of Israel and the safety of Egypt that the border between Gaza and Egypt be controlled by Egypt.
According to Reliapundit
“This is a MAJOR STRATEGIC incitement by HAMAS against Israel. And a CLEVER one: since it involves Egypt’s border with Gaza. Israel must lodge an official protest with Egypt and issue an ultimatum: if Egypt FAILS to live up to its OBLIGATIONS to Israel – to maintain a defensible border with Gaza – then Israel shoulkd UNILATERALLY MAINTAIN THE BORDER WITH MILITARY ATTACKS – STRAFING AND/OR BOMBING THE GAZANS WHO ILLEGALLY ENTER EGYPT. They can do this because Egypt PROMISED to prevent what they are now TURNING A BLIND EYE TO.”
Egypt has demonstrated in the past that it recognizes the danger of the radical jihadists, and it has honored its agreements with Israel. I am hopeful that will continue.
Israel says that massive arms have been smuggled into Gaza through the Sinai and over the border with Egypt in the past couple of days.
Israeli military sources said hundreds of weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank rockets and bomb components, have been smuggled over the last three days from the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip.
The sources said Palestinian insurgents brought the equipment from Egypt in wake of the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
So far, more than 10,000 Palestinians have crossed the Gaza border and made their way to towns in eastern and northern Sinai. The sources said they included hundreds of operatives from Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, some of whom directed the flow of Palestinians into Sinai.
“In the first moments of Israel’s abandoning of Gaza they smuggled weapons,” Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Yuval Steinitz said. “The ink on the agreement has not even dried and the Philadelphi route [Egyptian-Gaza border] is being used for massive weapons smuggling.”
“I am not optimistic,” Col. Yoav Mordechai, the outgoing military liasion with the Gaza Strip, said. “We are walking on very thin ice. One attack could result in major retaliation by the military.”
The sources said the PA has ordered SA-7 surface-to-air missiles from Egyptian smugglers in the Sinai. They said the amount of weapons brought to the Gaza Strip this week exceeded the volume of that smuggled via tunnels in all of 2005.
“Many of these weapons, particularly the anti-aircraft missiles, had been stored in eastern Sinai, but could not be brought into the Gaza Strip — at least not in large quantities — because of our presence along the border,” a source said. “These stockpiles are now being depleted.”
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has warned that Israel would not honor its commitments to ensure the free flow of people and goods to and from the Gaza Strip unless its border with Egypt was immediately closed.
Whoever thinks that the Palestinians will live in peace with the Israelis is living in a fantasy world. I expect that there will be an attack by Palestinians in Gaza against Israel. I expect that Israel will then launch a major counter-attack on Gaza that will be devastating.
It occurs me over and over again that the worst enemy of the Palestinians is themselves. They have an opportunity to develop a community in Gaza. They could create something for themselves in the resourceful-rich Gaza, but no, they would rather go to war, have many killed in retaliation and have their economy destroyed.
They would rather burn down buildings previously used as synagogues, rather than converting them to some productive use, and they would rather destroy greenhouses purchased for their use at a cost of $14 Million rather than develop an agricultural business that would bring money and wealth to their community.
These are not people who have the ability to govern themselves.