Thursday, January 18, 2007

EU Head Monitor passes judgment

I like this article from Ha’aretz. I am struck by how quintessentially weasel-like EU government organizations have remained, which in turn, reminds me to be grateful that my ancestors had the good sense to flee the Old World long ago.

The head of the European mission monitoring operations at the Egypt-Gaza border said Thursday that no weapons have been smuggled through the crossing since it was opened, and that all weapons that were discovered were destroyed, Israel Radio reported. Lt. Gen. Pietro Pistolese as saying urged Israel on Thursday to stop restricting operations there, saying disruptions only promote "extremism and terror."

Since the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in June, Pistolese said, the crossing has been open only 39 days. During that time 80,000 people have passed through it, he said, though 550,000 could have used it if it had been open the entire period.

Israel, citing security alerts, has kept the Rafah terminal - Gaza's main gateway to the outside world - closed for about 80 percent of the time since Shalit's capture.

The European monitors at Rafah were deployed as part of a U.S.-brokered agreement of November 2005 that was to ease movement in and out of Gaza. The agreement was reached two months after Israel withdrew from the coastal strip.

Strange how the good Lt. Gen. has no word of criticism for when the Egyptians who have periodically ordered their side of the border closed due, dare I say it; "security considerations."

And how soon the Lt. Gen. forgets how often the men under his command have had to flee their posts in fear for their lives and seek the sanctuary BEHIND the Israeli Defense Forces.

But you know, I don’t think I will ever be able to fully understand the inner complexity of a modern EU mind. The logic of ‘no weapons have been smuggled through the crossing since it was opened and that all weapons that were discovered were destroyed’ is far too nuanced a position for me to fully grasp.

Though, Lt. Gen. Pistolese does have a point concerning the Egyptian-Palestinian weapons smuggling operations. Generally, the weapons smuggling traffic does not necessarily travel aboveground but through a rather complex network of underground tunnels lying below the Rafah border crossing from Egypt into the Gaza Strip.


Michael said...

no weapons have been smuggled through the crossing since it was opened, and that all weapons that were discovered were destroyed

So in one breath he says that there's been no smuggling, but adds that there's meen attempts.

And as you pointed out, Kate, the smart smugglers use the tunnels.

There's really no reason for EU troops to be there. Other than wetting their pants at the first sign of trouble, I don't think that they're accomplishing anything.

Kateland, aka TZH said...

Actually, I think their purpose is twofold. Sharon was apparently very reluctant to turn control over the border to the PA, I believe the Bush Admin brought great pressure to bear on him and sweeten the deal with having the EU monitor it. Sharon accepted it so that the EU would act as a canary in the coal mine, a trip-line if you will, and to have the EU as act as a witness in order that the Egyptians would not turn openly funky.

Sharon's leaving of Gaza is most peculiar. I realize the common wisdom suggests he agree to the disengagement to redirect attention from his own legal issues but he was a great tactican so I can't help but wonder if this wasn't part of a bigger tactical plan which never panned out owing to the turn his health took, and you know, its hard for me to believe that Olmert was his choice for successor - gopher yes, but successor?

Michael said...

I think, has Sharon been in office this past year, we would have seen some hard core "security" actions in Gaza. Especially with the Jewish population out of the line of fire and retaliation. As you said, Sharon was a master tactician, and the disengagement did give that one advantage...

Olmert is a lefty wuss, and his days are numbered. No one here expected him to actually fill Sharon's shoes, but no one foresaw the utter disaster he'd be, either.