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.