Friday, February 1, 2008

Brotherhood sought

Palestinian calls for a permanent border agreement with Egypt intensify as Gaza is swiftly returned to a state of total siege

By Serene Assir from Gaza
Al-Ahram Weekly

"The government of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh proposed arrangements for the Rafah border terminal involving economic benefits for Egypt as a stopgap measure to prevent further collapse of the Gazan economy under pressure of the Israeli- instigated siege. "We are looking to end Gaza's economic ties to Israel, and for Egypt to step in to take over," Haniyeh told Al-Ahram Weekly. "We have no fear of breaking our economic ties to Israel, for it is these ties that have caused the economic collapse in Gaza over the course of the siege.".....

"The forced opening of the crossing has done a lot of good to the Gazans; principally as it has reignited some hope amongst us. Psychologically, it was important for us just to be able to breathe; to move freely again," said Emad Dahman, a resident of Gaza. "But it is not enough. The siege has not ended, nor have our problems been solved. What we require is a long-term agreement whereby entry and exit of people and goods in and out of Egypt is established. Without that, our livelihoods will remain continually suppressed and under threat by the Israeli occupation."....

As for the Gazan people, who have struggled under the hammer of total siege for seven months, there is strong sentiment for change. "We survived under the blockade because we are capable, and managed to make ends meet," said merchant Abu Mohamed, en route to Arish as Egyptian security forces conducted a crackdown along the road. "To us, it is not enough to have sporadic openings like this. What we need is a permanent settlement for the border, to get our economy going again and to get our lives back to a semblance of normality.""

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