Friday, September 16, 2005


Neither the Israel or American proponents of the Gaza withdrawal or those who claimed it was a step forward for the so-called peace process had any idea what they were bargaining for.

The following analysis was culled from Y'ediot, The Jerusalem Post, Ha'aretz and my own correspondents' observations on the scene.

Every painstaking agreement hammered out between the USA, Israel,Egypt and the Palestinians essentially melted away into the ozone. The Palestinian `security' and the Egyptian border police stood by while tens of thousands of Palestinians hurled themselves into an orgy of looting, burning and arms smuggling and hurtling across the Gaza-Egyptian border unchecked.

IDF intelligence estimates that on September 13th at least 20,000 Palestinians crossed over into Egyptian Sinai and about 3,000 men,mostly armed terorists and some from as far away as Lebanon crossed into their new base in Gaza. Not a single Palestinian `security officer' was visable, and the Egyptian border police meekly stood aside when Hamas gunmen ordered them to as they blew a hole in the concrete barrier seperating Egyptian Sinai from Gaza to permit a greater flow of people and materials. Local Hamas cheif Abu Atiya warned the Egyptians not to seal the border: "If you close this hole, we'll open ten others."

According to one of my IDF sources on the ground, this `spontaneous' flow of people was exploited if not generated by Hamas and Islamic Jihad to cover the transfer of hundreds of terrorists bearing fresh arms, Qassam missles and anti-tank weapons...many from Hezbollah's stores in Lebanon.

Most disturbing, particularly to American proponents of Palestinian economic development was the Palestinians' looting and ravaging of their own economic infrastructure. Looters destroyed the famous greenhouses purchased at a cost of $14M by the Peres Peace Center and international coordinator James Wolfenson and made off with the irrigation pumps, the tubing and in some cases the buildings themselves. Virtually every public building left by the Israelis was destroyed by the mobs; the Erez industrial center was totally dismantled, with even the electrical wires ripped out of the walls.

Israeli Defense minister Mofaz made a number of futile calls: to Mohammed Dahlan, Palestinian strongman in Gaza, to Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman and finally to retiring US Ambassador Dan Kurtzer. They went completely unheeded. The new military protocol between Jerusalem and Cairo was swept away overnight-not just by the Palestinians, but by the Egyptians.

Though the failure of Egypt and the Palestinians has not gone unnoticed in Wshington and Jerusalem, there are no plans to counteract the situation at this time..partly because of the high profile addreses by President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon at the UN.

Far from jumpstarting the peace process, Gaza is in the process of becoming exactly what foes of Israel's `disengagement' said it would: a terrorist enclave capable of both menacing Israel and acting as a base fro terrorist operations inEurope and the Meditteranean.

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