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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-11 05:41 PM
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'Gaza blockade unaffected by Schalit agreement'

"Israel has no intention of easing its blockade of the Gaza Strip because of the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, government officials said Sunday.

The officials said the blockade was in place primarily to stop the smuggling and local manufacturing of arms, and was not necessarily related to Hamass holding of Schalit for over five years.

One government official said the issue of the blockade was not raised at the cabinet meeting when the government approved the deal for Schalit last week.

Egyptian officials told the London-based pan-Arabic Al- Hayat newspaper over the weekend that Israel was expected to ease its blockade as a result of the Schalit deal, but only if Hamas agreed to stationing Palestinian Authority security officials at cross-border checkpoints, and a return of EU border observers.

Benoit Cuisin, a spokesman for the EU Border Assistance Mission for the Rafah Crossing (EUBAM) which manned the Rafah border periodically in 2006 and the first half of 2007, said the force has not been contacted about the possibility of returning to the Gaza crossing."

In Rafah, tunnels from Gaza just a way to do business


"Driving in this Egyptian city hard against the border with the Gaza Strip, one observation comes to mind after the gridlocked streets of Cairo: Traffic sure moves smoothly.

Except in the neighborhood of Salah Eddin. There, pickups and tractor-trailers clog the narrow streets, carrying loads of almost anything: cookies, canned food, tanks of cooking gas, cement, construction steel. What comes into the neighborhood, however, leaves it only through a network of secret tunnels that are the major conduit for goods headed into Gaza, where 1.2 million Palestinians live under an Israeli blockade.

Salah Eddin is unquestionably one of the largest clandestine cargo ports in the world, though no one keeps track of what goods pass through it. Their value is no doubt in the tens of millions of dollars, if not more, all of it illegal. Some of it may even be weapons, spirited out of Libya's chaos from Moammar Gadhafi's vast stores.

A visit to the tunnels proves the ineffectiveness of Egyptian and Israeli efforts to shut them down, efforts apparently so drastic that, Palestinian officials claim, they sometimes include Egyptian authorities flooding the tunnels with wastewater. Three cousins died last month, Palestinian medical officials say, from injuries they suffered when a tunnel collapsed from a sewage-water leak while they were smuggling goods through it.

More typically, however, the Egyptians use explosives to blow up tunnels they uncover or, in one case this month, fill it with tires and rubble, when using explosives would damage nearby houses.

But there are many other tunnels to pick from, and residents of the neighborhood all share one dream: that someday one of the tunnelers will find his way from Gaza into their backyard, allowing them to share in the smuggling profits. All the tunnels are dug from Gaza into Egypt, smugglers say, never the other way around."

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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-11 05:43 PM
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1. well color me surprised - not
did anyone really think the blockade would change?
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King_David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-11 07:22 PM
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2. Dammit how will they kidnap more Jews without arms? nt
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