Hundreds of Palestinians began pouring into the Gaza Strip from Egypt on Wednesday despite Israeli objections, ending a five-day standoff that left them stranded in Egypt after returning from an Islamic pilgrimage.As I have mentioned in the past, this means that Egypt is legitimizing Hamas. It also means that Egypt is more concerned about Hamas' concerns than Israel's.
Two people, including one traveler holding a large cloth bag, were the first to pass through the Rafah terminal, greeted by green-vested representatives of Hamas, the Islamic group that rules Gaza. The two were followed by a flood of returning pilgrims walking across the border.
The pilgrims left Gaza last month to make a religious pilgrimage to Saudi
Arabia. They became trapped in Egypt on their way home last weekend when the Egyptian government said they would have to cross through Kerem Shalom, an Israel Defense Forces-controlled crossing, instead of going directly into Gaza through the Rafah terminal.
Israel, which considers Hamas a terrorist group, fears that some of the
travelers are carrying large sums of money for Gaza's Hamas rulers.
Fearing capture by the Israelis, Hamas leaders among the pilgrims refused to go through the alternate crossing. The pilgrims rioted in temporary camps set up for them by Egypt and have threatened a hunger strike.
An Egyptian official said Wednesday that Israel had been informed of the
Egyptian decision to let the pilgrims back.
But Israeli defense officials said Israel hadn't approved their return and that Egypt's decision to let them back into Gaza contradicts understandings between Israel and Egypt. Officials in the foreign ministry said they had not been informed about Egypt's decision.
Practically, if Debka's figures are accurate, it means that some $150 million dollars has just been added to terrorist coffers.
Egypt, of course, has been deeply offended by Israel's objections to Egyptian collusion with smugglers to Hamas. And Egypt's tender feelings, as well as Hamas' threats to create a humanitarian crisis among its own people in the Egyptian desert, are obviously more important to the world than Israel's security.
Another victory for terrorism. 2008 looks like it will be a great year for the "peace process" where real facts don't interfere with the illusion of progress.