Egyptian-Israeli siege tightens noose around Gaza’s neck

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A member of a Palestinian security forces stands guard at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip as an Egyptian soldier stands guard at a watch tower on the Egyptian side October 26, 2014. (Photo: Anadolu Agency-Abed Rahim Khatib)

By: Orouba Othman

Published Monday, November 3, 2014

Egypt and Israel continue to hold the besieged Gaza Strip at knife point. This narrow piece of land, already plagued with political and social strife, is destined to remain “hostage” in the hands of both, as an ‘enemy’ and a ‘brother’ take turns at slaughtering its people. They have let the Strip breathe a bit, and then, whenever they choose, they quickly stopped the air from reaching its “lungs” by blocking the only three crossings linking Gaza to the outside world.

Unfortunately, 51 days of widespread killing and destruction failed to end the blackmail on the Palestinian people, which relies on by the crossings in and out of Gaza as leverage. After the latest war by Israel on Gaza, a new crisis emerged as Gazans took refuge in their tents and settlements now inundated by rain. Obviously, the reconstruction process has not worked out as planned and the crossings today are being used as a political card by both Egypt and Israel to punish Gaza, at times partially or completely closing the crossings.

Although another war has not erupted against Gaza so far, the Israeli forces have managed to seize this opportunity to tighten its grip over Gaza and to suffocate its people. On the evening of Saturday October 30, Israel announced the closure of Karm Abu Salem and Beit Hanoun crossings in the south east and the north of the strip until further notice, under the pretense that a rocket was fired at Ashkoul Settlement. Later, it showed “mercy” by announcing that it will partially reopen Karm Abu Salem crossing for only fuel delivery.

At the same time, Egypt has threatened to close the Rafah Crossing at every instance it suspects trouble in Sinai. This move is commonly seen in Gaza as an apparent attempt to induce a rift between the public and the Resistance, particularly in attempting to deny the latter from public support. In addition, the short period between closing the Rafah Crossing after accusing Gaza’s authorities of supporting the recent Sinai attack that left 30 Egyptian soldiers dead, while Israel sealed off the other two crossings, hints at a sort of cooperative policy between Israel and Egypt to use the stick and carrot policy [against Palestinians].

Recently, the Israeli occupation attempted to exploit the religious feelings of Gazans by easing their passage through the Erez checkpoint, allowing them to pray at the al-Aqsa Mosque after years of restrictions, although this it is today launching a war on Jerusalem.

On the Gazan side, Israeli occupation force is seeking to put into force a “deprivation and reward” policy, depending if the people of Gaza continue to support the Resistance or abandon it. Although Egypt has already closed down the Rafah Crossing for 190 days since the beginning of 2014, it has not been satiated yet and still seeks “revenge” on its old nemesis Hamas due to its association with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

In this context, one cannot omit the fact that the Palestinian delegation, which took part in the cease fire negotiations that ended the July war, failed to treat comprehensively the vague points related to the crossings and lack elaborate details to explain to Gazans the process required to end the siege. Rather, the delegation had raised people’s hopes by promising to enhance their life conditions, and vowed to build an airport and a port.

Today, Gazan’s dreams have been reduced to wishing to restore the situation that prevailed before the war.

It’s is as if nothing happened,” one Gaza resident said to Al-Akhbar.

To exacerbate the situation further, political disputes persist between Fatah and Hamas over who will administer the crossings. While Fatah advocates the “handover” option, Hamas insists on “partnership.” Meanwhile, contributions from donor states in the reconstruction process is conditioned on the Palestinian Authority presidential guards controlling of the crossings, which has not happened yet, and no one knows when it will.

Although shutting down border crossings amounts to a flagrant violation of the understandings of the cease-fire reached in the end of August, Resistance factions have not yet threatened to resume firing rockets, cautious that Israel might evade more of its commitments. Even Hamas leader, Mahmoud al-Zahar, usually known for his firm positions, said, “Israel is trying to make up excuses to reinforce the siege but we are not falling for these stories. If the siege is not lifted, we will no longer be obliged to abide by commitments.”

Regarding the negotiating delegation’s role in fixing the situation, delegation member Bassam al-Salhi explained, “Israel imposed humiliating conditions on the construction process in Gaza. It wants to reorganize the siege not to end it, whether the unity government takes control or not.”

“Speaking to Al-Akhbar, Salhi said, “Israel reduced the understandings into a sort of administrative facilitations at the Erez crossing in order to escape its responsibility toward the Strip.”

Salhi statements suggest that contacts with Egypt are almost frozen at this point, as he excluded the possibility to resume the negotiations in the second half of this month if the Zionist state does not prove its full commitment to lift the siege.

Coca Cola in Gaza

Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, revealed that the Israeli occupation authorities approved the establishment of a Coca Cola factory in Gaza, and its construction is set to begin this week.

In its November 2 edition, the newspaper said Israeli security bodies gave the green light to build a large Coca Cola factory in Gaza that will at first create jobs to hundreds of Palestinians and later on to 3,000 workers.

According to the newspaper, a Palestinian entrepreneur submitted a request to build the factory to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Occupied Territories in the Israeli Defense Ministry. The defense minister then decided to accept the specialists’ recommendations.

The newspaper pointed out so far, “Gaza residents received Coca Cola products from a factory in Ramallah, which often led to a shortage whenever the border crossings closed.”

It also said that the factory will be built in the Karni industrial area, and its construction will take six months.

Follow Orouba Othman on Twitter: [email protected]

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


THE GAZA STRIP is a nice little piece of real estate...have a look at it on the map, the pictures shoe fantastic OCEAN VIEWS - wow !

I wonder if there are not plans already drawn up for a new DUBAI on the site where the peasant Gazan's live today (the rats) as they call see money is everything to oil rick raconteurs (?)

Why else would anyone pay all this attention on a run down "town" like Gaza.


The Jews left Israel a long time ago saying, "Let us know when you have cleaned up the dump."

And no one will tell the true story - amazing.

so the evil Jews are allowing Gazans to worship in Jerusalem and build a factory to serve a need and employ hundreds. I knew those Jews were bad but this is just too much!

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