Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Daoud Kuttab, The Electronic Intifada, 28 November 2006
"A little over a year ago, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Quartet envoy James Wolfensohn, Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz, the PA's Muhammad Dahlan and the EU reached an agreement to allow Palestinians free movement in and out of the Gaza Strip.
The Agreement on Movement and Access (AMA) signed on November 15, 2005 promised Palestinians freedom of movement of people and goods. A detailed fact sheet published by the Palestinian Monitoring Group shows that since last year, none of the agreement's provisions have been fully implemented by Israel.
The AMA sought to facilitate the movement of Palestinian people and goods between Gaza and Israel (through crossing points between the two areas); between Gaza and the West Bank (through bus and truck convoys running between the two parts of the occupied Palestinian territory); within Palestinian communities in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem (by working to dismantle the internal closure regime, which consists of hundreds of checkpoints and fixed obstacles to movement between Palestinian communities in the West Bank); between Gaza and the West Bank; and to third countries (by opening the Rafah crossing point between Gaza and Egypt, allowing Palestinians to build a seaport in Gaza, and allowing Gaza's airport to reopen).
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Rafah crossing point has been open, since June 28, 2006, on only 13% of the days it was scheduled to be open. The UN office has also stated that since June 25, Israel has frequently prevented EU monitors from reaching the site, thereby forcing Rafah's closure.