Friday, February 22, 2008
Israel and Fatah are pushing Gazans over the edge, with no help from Egypt in sight
By Saleh Al-Naami
"......Omar Shaaban, a prominent economist, holds that the present situation is proof that opening the border with Egypt was a solution to the critical economic situation in Gaza. The solution, he says, lies in opening the borders officially and publicly, so that commercial trade functions between Gaza and Egypt via the Rafah crossing, though this cannot replace economic ties between Gaza and Israel. "The Palestinians are not currently able to run their national economy without a connection to the Israeli economy," he told the Weekly.
Yet all indicators suggest that there is no solution on the horizon, at least not in the near future. The Hamas delegation led by Mahmoud Al-Zahar that recently met with Egyptian security officials in Arish did not succeed in reaching an agreement on organising commercial trade between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Despite the optimistic statements of Hamas leaders following the meeting, trusted sources told the Weekly that the meeting did not result in progress on any issue, for the Egyptian officials insisted on tying any change in the situation on the border to domestic Palestinian agreement on the crossing issue. That will not happen any time soon because of the gaping chasm between the position of Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas......"