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					Gazans Flood Egypt After Border Breach - Politics on The Huffington Post

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Gazans Flood Egypt After Border Breach IBRAHIM BARZAK | January 23, 2008 09:22 PM EST | AP Compare other versions » Read More: Egypt, Gaza Escape, Gaza Wall, Hamas, Israel And Palestinian Conflict, Israel And Palestinians, Palestinian, Palestinian Militants, Breaking Politics News
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Print Comments RAFAH, Gaza Strip — On foot, in cars and in donkey carts, tens of thousands of Gazans flooded into Egypt on Wednesday through a border fence blown up by militants _ puncturing a gaping hole in Israel's airtight closure of the Gaza Strip and giving a boost to Hamas. In a shopping spree that was both festive and frenzied, Gazans cleared out stores in an Egyptian border town, buying up everything from TV sets to soft drinks to cigarettes. As waves of people swarmed through the destroyed barrier _ some estimated the crowd in the hundreds of thousands _ Egyptian security forces lined up on one side of the border and Hamas forces lined up on the other side. None of them interfered in any way, and it appeared Hamas militants actively participated in the border breach. That breach, though likely temporary, seemed certain to strengthen Hamas in its showdown with Israel, the West and its Fatah rivals _ relieving some of the pain of an international blockade of the Gaza Strip following Hamas' violent takeover of the coastal territory in June. It also raised Israeli fears of an influx of weapons and militants to Gaza and threatened to undermine crucial Egyptian participation in a Mideast peace push by President Bush. Official reaction to the day's events ranged from dismay to embarrassment to outright anger.

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Gazans Flood Egypt After Border Breach - Politics on The Huffington Post

The United States expressed concern about the border breach. Israel demanded that Egypt take control of its border. Hamas called on its rivals to help come up with new arrangements for Gaza's crossings. Egypt's leader said he had no choice but to let in the beleaguered Palestinians. But Arab and U.S. officials in Washington said the Egyptian government assured the United States the border would be closed quickly. For ordinary Gazans, it was a day of joy and plenty. Osama Hassan, 25, said the border opening will enable him to marry his 17-year-old fiancee next week, because they were able to get items they need to set up a household. He bought a special mattress for his injured back and she assembled kitchen supplies. Hassan said he belongs to Fatah, not Hamas, but still wants to "kiss the forehead" of Gaza's Hamas prime minister. Hamas did not take responsibility for a series of explosions that destroyed the fence, but it seemed unlikely the systematic operation could have happened without its approval, if not active involvement. Residents said Hamas-linked militants cut through the metal wall with blow torches a month ago _ weakening the structure so that it could fall easily when the blasts went off. The appearance of the fallen wall backed up that assertion. It was neatly sliced at knee-level, with the bottom section still standing and the rest toppled over. Hamas police quickly took control of the shopping exodus, channeling the crowds through two sections of the frontier. "Freedom is good. We need no border after today," said Mohammed Abu Ghazal, a 29-yearold out-of-work Gazan. Children bought soft drinks and chocolate, women scooped up cheese and cleaning products, and men stocked up on cigarettes _ all expensive or simply unavailable in Gaza because of Israel's shutdown of cargo crossings. Other Palestinians staggered over toppled metal plates that once made up the border fence, carrying TV sets, cell phones, tires and plastic bottles filled with fuel. Some brought in goats and chickens. Four Palestinians in wheelchairs were pushed over the border, where ambulances picked them up for treatment in Egypt. At one point, a dozen people crowded around a motorcycle to lift it over a low border wall in Egypt. Shoppers depleted stores in the border town of Rafah, prompting Ashraf el-Sayyid, an Egyptian, to ride his motorbike into the Gaza Strip _ going against both traffic and logic. "I need to buy bread for my children," he said. "The Palestinians left us with nothing. It's true, they are dear to us, but today, they were like locusts." Masked gunmen used 17 explosive charges before dawn to tear down the border fence _ erected in 2001 by Israel when it controlled Gaza. After news of the breach spread, people across Gaza boarded buses and piled into rickety pickup trucks heading for Egypt. It was a rare chance to escape Gaza's isolation.

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Gazans Flood Egypt After Border Breach - Politics on The Huffington Post

Moussa Zuroub, 28, carried his young daughter, Aseel, on his shoulders through the muddy streets of Rafah, which is divided by a wall into Egyptian and Gazan segments. "I'm coming just to break that ice _ that all my life, I'd never left Gaza before," he said. By nightfall, more than 1,000 Gazans reached El-Arish, an Egyptian town about 37 miles south of Rafah, walking the streets and shopping in stores that stayed open late. Mohammed Alyan, an unemployed father of six sitting at a bus stop with six friends, complained that Egyptian shopkeepers were rapidly raising prices. Egypt is in a bind over how to respond. It has largely kept its border with Gaza closed since the Hamas takeover amid concerns of a spillover of Hamas-style militancy into Egypt. But Egypt's government is also under popular pressure at home to help impoverished Gazans. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he told his border officials to let the Palestinians cross because they were "starving" under the Israeli blockade. However, not only have there been no cases of starvation reported, but there are no claims of starvation from officials or aid workers, and none are visible to anyone who lives or works in Gaza. There are acute shortages of fuel in Gaza, and supplies of fresh meat and produce are running low, which have raised the specter of a humanitarian emergency. The supreme Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, said his group is willing to work with Egypt and Hamas' rival, moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, on a shared border arrangement. "We are concerned about that situation and frankly I know the Egyptians are as well," State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said. David Welch, assistant secretary of state for the Middle East, and U.S. diplomats in Cairo talked to Egyptian authorities about the situation, Casey said. He said the Egyptians take border security seriously and he had no indication the situation was affecting IsraeliPalestinian relations for now. An Arab diplomat in Washington said Egypt indicated to the U.S. that the flow of people would end by midday Thursday and pledged to rebuild the smashed barrier. A senior U.S. official, however, said Egypt was not specific on when the border would be closed but promised the situation would not continue for long. "They will make an effort first to contain the crowd on their side of the border so they don't go anywhere, and then coax people back. We'll see tomorrow how that has worked," said the official, who like the Arab diplomat, insisted on not being quoted by name in return for describing the conversations between the two governments. White House press secretary Dana Perino earlier blamed Hamas for the chaos in Gaza and called the instability "very troubling" for Israel. Constant targeting of Israel by militant rocket squads in Gaza "has caused Israel to implement the blockade," Perino said. "Hamas is not in control of the situation, they are not governing well, and the people of the _ the Palestinian people are starting to realize that they do have a choice." Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he won't allow Gazans to live ordinary lives while Israelis next to Gaza are suffering from daily rocket attacks.

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Gazans Flood Egypt After Border Breach - Politics on The Huffington Post

"We will not allow under any condition, or any situation, creation of a humanitarian crisis. We will not hit food supplies for children or medicines for the needy," he said. But Olmert added: "Does anyone seriously think that our children will wet their beds at night in fear and be afraid to go out of the house and they (Gazans) will live in quiet normality?" Israel, which withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005, also expressed concern that militants and weapons might be entering Gaza, and said responsibility for restoring order lies with Egypt. "We expect the Egyptians to solve the problem," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel. "Obviously we are worried about the situation. It could potentially allow anybody to enter." But there was some indication the new situation along the border could suit Israel, which would prefer to have responsibility for the coastal territory moved elsewhere. One senior Israeli government official spoke positively about Egypt taking on that role. Louise Arbour, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said in Geneva that the "level of desperation" among the Palestinians was made apparent by the breach, and that Israel must lift restrictions on delivery of humanitarian aid. "The 1.4 million people of Gaza live under abhorrent conditions," she told the 47-member U.N. human rights council. The chaotic scenes came almost a week after Israel imposed a tight closure on Gaza, backed by Egypt, in response to a spike in Gaza rocket attacks on Israeli towns. On Tuesday, Israel eased the blockade slightly, transferring fuel to restart Gaza's only power plant. But true relief came with the toppling of the wall. Egyptian shopkeepers took advantage of the surge in customers, swiftly raising prices of milk, taxi rides and cigarettes. Shops quickly ran out of most of their goods. In Gaza City, the price of cigarettes, which had skyrocketed during the closure, started to drop. Local money changers began charging extra to change Israeli shekels into dollars, as Gazans were using the U.S. currency in Egypt. Crowds waited along roads in Gaza City, trying to catch rides to the border. Taxi driver Mahmoud Abu Ouda made one trip to Rafah, but stopped because he had no more fuel. "The city is empty of cabs. They are all in Rafah," he said. _____ Associated Press writers Sarah El Deeb in Gaza City and Ashraf Sweilam in Rafa, Egypt, contributed to this report. Get Politics Alerts
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4 comments pending FAQ: Comments & Moderation | FAQ: Huffpost Accounts Post a comment Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next › Last » (7 pages total)

ptarantino (See profile | I'm a fan of ptarantino) I don't think anybody likes the idea of boxing in human beings, so good for gazaians getting their freedom of movement.
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Gazans Flood Egypt After Border Breach - Politics on The Huffington Post

I don't know enough about this subject to add very much, but I am extremely dissapointed in Huffington Post not having the comments work, while they put this story as their lead. Every other threads comments worked except for this story. Reply | posted 09:53 pm on 01/23/2008 hope4theflowers (See profile | I'm a fan of hope4theflowers) hmm so they did allow comments.Oh well,I forgot what I was going to say. Reply | posted 09:45 pm on 01/23/2008 Trittydi (See profile | I'm a fan of Trittydi) There are humanitarian solutions to these problems. And there are terrible, complex and serious problems riddled throughout the political landscape of this entire region. But Israel doesn't occupy any theoretical moral high-ground here - they suck as bad as we do. We suck - they suck. * Reply | posted 09:26 pm on 01/23/2008 MagisterLudi (See profile | I'm a fan of MagisterLudi) Gaza belongs to Palestinians. Israelis owe them NOTHING. They want to buy stuff from Egyptians, go for it. For the hyperventilating morons: EGYPT, THE "MUSLIM BROTHER" CLOSED THE BORDER WITH GAZA. What no protest against them??? The usual double standard. Jews close the border: Criminals! Arab Egypt closes the border: SILENCE. Reply | posted 07:25 pm on 01/23/2008 TimtheDemocrat (See profile | I'm a fan of TimtheDemocrat) Ha, HA! Israel is FORCED (DUE TO HUMILIATION!) to deliver fuel to their 350,000 prisoners in their disgusting concentration camp/ghetto!!

The ghosts of 350,000 dead Jews from Warsaw ghetto are totally judging you Israel; and they are not happy. How could you do the same thing to a people from which you have stolen so much? Disgusting and revolting. Our so-called ally, more like a curse. Reply | posted 07:14 pm on 01/23/2008 Coyote2 (See profile | I'm a fan of Coyote2) Hey; you're no democrat. Your a far-leftist on this issue. Do some reading before you post:

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Gazans Flood Egypt After Border Breach - Politics on The Huffington Post

4200 world wide news sources covering this topic: http://news.google.ca/?ncl=1126358333&hl=en Lawhawk posted; "How can an international border can be transgressed with nary a protest from either state?" "Of course, you can also say that this simply reestablishes the longstanding relationship between Gaza and Egypt. Let Gaza be Egypt's problem, just as it was before 1967. Back then, these Palestinians weren't Palestinians but Egyptians. Funny how times change. Egypt wanted nothing to do with Gaza in 1979 when Israel offered to hand it back to Egypt at Camp David. Imagine that. No one wants to deal with the Gazans, who are radicalized and have no interest in peace." o Jihad Watch which also asks why Egypt IS ALLOWED TO HAVE A WALL AND ISRAEL IS NOT. O http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF8&tab=wb&q=gaza+egypt&btnG=Search+Blogs For weeks, Palestinian militants had been methodically using blow torches to undermine the integrity of the metal wall. Freelance Palestinian journalist Zuhair Najar said he was in Rafah a week ago working on a story about the network of smuggling tunnels under the border (used to get weapons in and militants out) when he saw militants doing some work on the iron wall. It was clear, Najar said, that the militants had methodically used blowtorches to cut through and weaken the metal before bringing it down. It is now clear that it was part of a long, well-organized plan to bring down the wall and break the Israeli economic siege. Reply | Parent | posted 08:03 pm on 01/23/2008 ZingoBonMot (See profile | I'm a fan of ZingoBonMot) I'm glad someone else sees this situation as I do. The Mideast will never know peace as long as Palestinians are treated in such a degrading way. Reply | Parent | posted 08:29 pm on 01/23/2008 NicoleAnonymous (See profile | I'm a fan of NicoleAnonymous) Every time someone here compares Israelis to Nazis I'm going to donate a dollar to charity. Reply | Parent | posted 08:55 pm on 01/23/2008

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Gazans Flood Egypt After Border Breach - Politics on The Huffington Post

Jane22 (See profile | I'm a fan of Jane22) I am happy that no one came to kill these people who only want to live and take care of their families. There is far too much suffering and killing on a Planet that speaks of Peace, but rushes to cause pain and suffering--all for money and power. Will someone please put down the weapons of death first. Some of us will die in our continuing quest for non-violence, but future children will be able to live. These poor people have suffered enough. Israel: Please stop hurting these people and they will stop trying to hurt you. Peace Reply | posted 06:27 pm on 01/23/2008 goldman (See profile | I'm a fan of goldman) last time i looked israel left the gaza strip in 2005 and hamas took power .they don't accept israel or want peace everyday the sent rockets into israel proper. israel has every right to fight back they need to squash hamas Reply | posted 06:23 pm on 01/23/2008 driven989 (See profile | I'm a fan of driven989) keep looking... Reply | Parent | posted 08:26 pm on 01/23/2008 txfriend (See profile | I'm a fan of txfriend) Celebrations are abound! Cheers to the ordinary Palestinians who have suffered under barabaric super-power backed cowards! Reply | posted 05:57 pm on 01/23/2008 JulieSA (See profile | I'm a fan of JulieSA) test Reply | posted 05:56 pm on 01/23/2008 Bush_Pardons_Cheney (See profile | I'm a fan of Bush_Pardons_Cheney) So what will the Israel Neocons do now that Bush has shown an interest in the problem, even calling it an OCCUPATION!!!: A) Instigate an incident with the Palestinians? B) Invade one of the border Arab countries? C) Reorganize their government for the next year till he is gone? D) Assassinate the Prime Minister again? ANSWER: A) Instigate an incident with the Palestinians? Gaza City was plunged into darkness Sunday after Israel blocked the shipment of fuel that powers its only electrical plant in retaliation for persistent rocket attacks by Gaza militants.

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Gazans Flood Egypt After Border Breach - Politics on The Huffington Post

The power cut sent already beleaguered Gazans to stock up on food and batteries in anticipation of dark, cold days ahead. Gaza officials warned the move would cause a health catastrophe while a U.N. agency and human rights groups condemned Israel. "We have the choice to either cut electricity on babies in the maternity ward or heart surgery patients or stop operating rooms," Gaza Health Ministry official Dr. Moaiya Hassanain said. Reply | posted 05:50 pm on 01/23/2008 LanceThruster (See profile | I'm a fan of LanceThruster) A Zionist occupied government and Zionist controlled media. The worst of both worlds. Collective punishment is a crime as per international law. Reply | posted 05:37 pm on 01/23/2008 waitomo (See profile | I'm a fan of waitomo) What's the matter? Rocket launchers and RPGs are inedible? Screw the Palestinians. They wanted Hamas, they got Hamas. And so now they reap what they've sowed. Why the left excuses their terrorism is beyond me. The left does not like Jews. Reply | posted 05:14 pm on 01/23/2008 Johnz52 (See profile | I'm a fan of Johnz52) When an occupying army herded a few thousand Jews into Warsaw it was called a war crime. Those who rebelled against the occupying army were labeled heroes. When Israel corrals over one million Palestinians into Gaza and systematically starves them it is called acceptable. Those who rebel against the Israeli occupiers are labeled terrorists. Collective punishment of civilians is a war crime. What is happening in Gaza today is no different than the crimes perpetrated in Poland seventy years ago. Hopefully one day we will see the Palestinians have their own viable state and those guilty of perpetuating war crimes against them tried and executed just the same as those guilty of war crimes during WWII were. Reply | posted 05:08 pm on 01/23/2008 NicoleAnonymous (See profile | I'm a fan of NicoleAnonymous) Here we go again...someone comparing the occupation to the Holocaust although they're completely different. They're fighting over land. If the Palestinians gave them the land they wouldn't bother them. The Nazis killed Jews because they wanted them DEAD. All of them DEAD. It wasn't about land. Reply | Parent | posted 06:07 pm on 01/23/2008 holidaze07 (See profile | I'm a fan of holidaze07) But a Hamas border guard interviewed by The Times at the border today admitted that the Islamist group was responsible and had been involved for months in slicing through the heavy metal wall using oxy-acetylene cutting torches. That meant that when the explosive charges were set off in 17 different locations after
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Gazans Flood Egypt After Border Breach - Politics on The Huffington Post

midnight last night the 40ft wall came tumbling down, leaving it lying like a broken concertina down the middle of no-man's land as an estimated 350,000 Gazans flooded into Egypt. Reply | posted 04:45 pm on 01/23/2008 sparkandy (See profile | I'm a fan of sparkandy) What's up with 183 posts pending at this time, 4:44 pm est? Is HuffPo going to release them all at the same time, wait five minutes, then declare the post closed for comments? Reply | posted 04:45 pm on 01/23/2008 driven989 (See profile | I'm a fan of driven989) Great point! Why does HuffPo keep closing the comments section so quickly about this topic?! Reply | Parent | posted 06:54 pm on 01/23/2008 hope4theflowers (See profile | I'm a fan of hope4theflowers) this isnt a blog,this is a news story..why do you need to approve these comments?Can you be any more fascist ?? Reply | posted 04:41 pm on 01/23/2008 NicoleAnonymous (See profile | I'm a fan of NicoleAnonymous) They censure people here all the time. It drives me crazy. They wouldn't let me criticize the vulture Bonnie Fuller but they let her declare that someone took their own life before the medical examiner had even seen the body. But they don't censure some posts - it depends where your posting them. Usually politics will always be censured. This will probably be censured too. Reply | Parent | posted 06:10 pm on 01/23/2008 hope4theflowers (See profile | I'm a fan of hope4theflowers) whats taking you so long to post our comments Huffpo?I can see over 180 pending.... what are you doing all this time..weeding out the comments that criticize Israel? Reply | posted 04:38 pm on 01/23/2008 ptarantino (See profile | I'm a fan of ptarantino) I don't like to believe in the Jewish mob running the media, but how in the hell does no open comments appear for this article? Whereas they are working for all the others. WTF Huffingtonpos Reply | posted 04:36 pm on 01/23/2008 holidaze07 (See profile | I'm a fan of holidaze07) You can't allow all the anti-Jewish posts can you Huffington? Reply | posted 04:24 pm on 01/23/2008 musselmanm (See profile | I'm a fan of musselmanm) I say good for the people! I also say when Hamas shoots a rocket into Israel, Israel should
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Gazans Flood Egypt After Border Breach - Politics on The Huffington Post

shoot one back. If the people quit supporting Hamas, then peace will come. If not Rockets without concern should be sent back. Reply | posted 03:49 pm on 01/23/2008 brooklyncitizen (See profile | I'm a fan of brooklyncitizen) Israel is barbaric. it is the number one terrorist threat in the world...how much longer will we allow them to set policy whilekilling so many n the bargain? Reply | posted 03:49 pm on 01/23/2008 LanceThruster (See profile | I'm a fan of LanceThruster) 169 comments pending and not a single one posted? Do the Zionists have to filter out all uncomfortable information about their brutalization of the Palestinians to make it fit for mass consumption? Reply | posted 03:43 pm on 01/23/2008 TimtheDemocrat (See profile | I'm a fan of TimtheDemocrat) We're not allowed to talk about real issues on the right or on the left. America is FUCKED. Reply | Parent | posted 06:51 pm on 01/23/2008 waitomo (See profile | I'm a fan of waitomo) Poor, bedraggled Palestinians with nothing but the rocket launchers in their yards and hatred to keep them company. Let them starve on their hate. Funny how the left combats prejudice everywhere in the world but condones it when it's directed toward Jews. Reply | posted 03:36 pm on 01/23/2008 DC (See profile | I'm a fan of DC) "Hamas seized control of Gaza by force in June, routing pro-Fatah security forces." Hamas was duly elected by the Palestinian people. The media continues to distort the truth. If one likes the Hamas party is another question, but they were the elected leaders in a democratic election. That important fact is distorted by always writing about Hamas at taking control by force -they were elected and had every right to take over! The US and Israel were unhappy with the results. Thus the shut-off. Some good it has done. As for the annoying and absurd rocketing of Israel by some Palestinians -- there are surely better ways to get that under control than bombing civilians which result in civilian injuries and more death of innocents. Or the illegal collective punishment of a people. Reminds me of the blocking off of the Warsaw ghetto until innocents starved. BTW, the justification then was that some inhabitants were Communist (read Terrorist) and all the Jews (read Palestinians) were a threat. And collective punishment would make all those Jews (read Palestinians) come around. It was a heinous racist crime against humanity then, and it is no different now. Does Israel really believe that collective punishment and inhumane isolation will work against Hamas? Everything BUT! I fear that this post will not even be allowed here.
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Reply | posted 03:32 pm on 01/23/2008 TimtheDemocrat (See profile | I'm a fan of TimtheDemocrat) "That which you do to the least of my brothers, that you do to me" Jesus Reply | posted 03:31 pm on 01/23/2008 fact finder (See profile | I'm a fan of fact finder) Tim ; Amen . Reply | Parent | posted 06:11 pm on 01/23/2008 Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next › Last » (7 pages total)

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Palestinians walk and ride carts with goods as they pass a destroyed section of the border wall as they return to Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, from Egypt Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2008. Masked Palestinian gunmen blew holes into the Gaza-Egypt border wall Wednesday, and thousands of Gazans trapped in their territory by a tight blockade poured into Egypt to buy food, fuel and other supplies that have become scarce.(AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) Related News Politics Secret Service Facing Lawsuit For Arresting Cheney Protestor Politics Likely Author Of Shocking Ron Paul Letters Exposed Politics Clinton, Edwards Hold Private Meetings After Debate Related Blog Posts

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