Monday, December 03, 2007

EU helps Hamas score political victory

Over the past couple of weeks Hamas has been insisting that Hajj pilgrims go to Egypt via the Rafah crossing, while Abbas' government arranged for safe passage through Israel. Hamas' intentions is to assert authority over the Rafah border, only negotiate with Egypt concerning its operations, and bypass the EU and Israel as per the Rafah agreement brokered Apparently, Hamas has won:
The Egyptian authorities on Monday allowed the passage of 700 Hajj pilgrims from the Gaza Strip into the Egyptian territories en route to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

... Now, the Gazan pilgrims will head to Saudi Arabia in tandem with the West Bank pilgrims.

The first group of pilgrims crossed the Rafah crossing on foot, standing in line up as the Egyptian security called them by name individually as they crossed.

Hamas leader, Sheikh Salim Salamah, says he hopes the rest of the pilgrims will be permitted to cross through the Egyptian border.

Over the past few days, there has been disagreement between the Gaza-based de facto government, and the West Bank-based caretaker government over which crossing the Gaza pilgrims should leave through. The caretaker government was insisting that the pilgrims leave through the Erez and Al-Uja crossings.

As I have mentioned in the past, the Rafah crossing is supposed to be closed. Only the EU-BAM observers in Rafah are supposed to be able to facilitate opening that border, and it must be operated by the PA, not Hamas. Egypt knows this and so does Hamas. Most importantly, so does the EU.

They are once again complicit in strengthening Hamas politically and weakening Abbas.