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A spokesman for the Egyptian FM countered calls on Egypt to open the Rafah Crossing into Gaza to end Israeli blockade. He explained that opening Rafah would set a precedent of Egyptian aid to Gaza that would allow Israel to close all other crossings and forget about the hostile territory.

In truth, Egypt doesn’t want responsibility for the fellow Arab criminals of Gaza. Opening the Rafah would also create a stream of Palestinian thugs into Egypt, which has a hard time battling its own radicals from Hamas, PIJ’s parent organization. Given Egypt’s numerous crackdowns on Hamas officials, this is Egypt’s main reason for closing the Rafah Crossing.

Unlike Fatah-PLO, Hamas defies the Egyptian government’s authority. Hamas made its attitude clear when it breached the border with Egypt. Egypt played it nice and welcomed the Palestinians—but then arrested Iman Nufal, a Hamas commander in charge of the breach.

Another reason for keeping Rafah closed is the Egyptian fear of Israeli reprisal: it is all too easy for Israel to humiliatingly reoccupy the corridor. Opening Rafah is likely to strain Egyptian-US relations and endanger massive American aid to Egypt.

Egypt is glad both to oppress the hated Gazans and maintain a social pressure cooker there to trouble Jews. Unlike the Jews who, wary of world opinion, open their crossings with Gaza and supply the enemy with food (lest they grow too weak to launch rockets), Egypt don’t care a bit about the opinion of fellow Arabs. Thus the Rafah remains closed.

When it controlled Gaza before 1967, Egypt oppressed the locals terribly. Unlike the Jews who “collectively punish” Hamas voters by restricting aid, Egypt’s collective punishment on Gazans was often carried out with artillery.

Israeli media reported on Olmert-Barak’s decision to respond militarily to rocket attacks from Gaza. As we’d expected, they meant continuation of hyper-expensive and ineffective air strikes against rocket launchpads. Haim Ramon confirmed our expectation, saying that no agreement was reached on a large-scale invasion of Gaza.

Barak is right in the sense that no military operation can dislodge Hamas. After Israel’s disengagement from Gaza and especially during the ceasefire, Hamas built a viable 20,000-strong militia; prepared tunnels, trenches, and foxholes; laid anti-tank mines; and prepared for long-term guerrilla warfare. IDF will occupy Gaza illegally, but will immediately suffer from guerrilla attacks much stronger than Hezbollah’s. Hamas will use human shields, fire from settled areas and residential buildings, score PR victories from dead civilians, and generally drive the IDF away—unless there’s a political decision to depopulate the terrorist nest altogether.

Hamas agreed to a short-term renewal of ceasefire, and the attacks are carried out now by smaller groups. By now, Hamas has realized that the Israeli government won’t accept any sweeter terms of ceasefire. Temporary calm will ensue soon.

The World Bank chastised Israel for suffocating Palestinian trade with roadblocks, which are actually very few in the Palestinian-controlled areas. But how come Palestinians have the fastest income growth rate of all non-oil Arabs? The World Bank doesn’t address that puzzle. And why the Jordanians, who are predominantly of Palestinian origin, are so poor, although there are regrettably no Israeli roadblocks in Jordan?

Curiously, the World Bank, the purported free-trade bastion, has become a leftist bunch.

Russian Neo-Nazis vandalized Ashdod Lev Simha yeshiva with swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans in Russian.

December 2008
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