Sunday, February 10, 2008

The brains of Bahrain and their Arab friends

A delegation from Bahrain sneaked into Gaza and now can't get out:
A BAHRAINI aid delegation stranded in Gaza could be back in Bahrain today, as talks have been stepped up to get them out through the sealed border with Egypt.

But Egyptian and Palestinian envoys in Bahrain yesterday accused the four-man team of slipping into the territory without telling the embassies here or the proper authorities.

The delegation arrived in Gaza on January 31.

They have been trying to leave since last Tuesday, having missed a chance to get out when the Salaheddin border crossing was resealed by the Egyptian authorities on Feburary 3.

"We are pained to say that we were not consulted by the delegation when they left," said Egyptian Ambassador Dr Azmy Khalifa.

"We should have been taken into their confidence."

He said the delegation crossed the border from Salaheddin "in an unauthorised manner" and "without permission".

Palestinian Ambassador Ahmed Ramadhan accused the Bahraini delegation of making political mileage out of the situation.

He said the first time he knew about the aid mission was from the local papers.

"I am surprised that they went with aid for our people without even letting the embassy know," said Mr Ramadhan.

He said the delegation "violated the border" and was now suffering the consequences.

"When people in Gaza, including the delegation, were given 48 hours to leave, they did not and now they say they are stranded," said Mr Ramadhan.

"Of course, we are trying to get them to Bahrain, but this situation should not have happened at all."

Mr Al Fadallah said some intermediaries had made the delegation an offer to leave Gaza through Israel.

"We have turned down that offer. We have nothing to do with the Zionist enemy," he said.

The delegation had earlier refused offers to be smuggled out of the troubled Palestinian territory.

We see that the Bahrainis could have left through Israel but they refused.

So who exactly is keeping them stranded in Gaza? Could it be their Arab brethren?

(belated h/t to jusa for pointing out an earlier version of this news)