Israeli Defense Minister, Amir Peretz, decided to open the Rafah Border Crossing between Gaza and Egypt for two days to allow Palestinian residents to cross into and from Egypt.
Some passengers were waiting for 24 days at the terminal waiting for Israel to allow them to enter to the Gaza Strip from Egypt.
Why would the Israeli Minister of Defense, decide to open or close the Rafah border crossing which connects the Gaza Strip with Egypt?
As far as I remember, Israel “fully” withdrew from the Gaza Strip in September 2005. I also remember that it was a plan by former Israeli Prime Minister with an American blessing called the Disengagement plan, and more accurately, the “Unilateral” disengagement from the Gaza Strip.
Israel has unilaterally decided to unconditionally remove its settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip without any coordination with the Palestinian side, except on the security level to ensure that a calm withdrawal of troops will take place.
Therefore, as disengagement was implemented, Israel should have no control over anything in the Gaza Strip, however, Israel still controls almost everything. The Rafah border crossing is the one and only exit for Gazans to the world. All other crossing points are with Israel.
To refresh the memory, following the disengagement, Israel agreed that European personnel control the border crossing, and demanded that they install cameras in the terminal so they can monitor the movement of travelers, remotely.
The fact that Israel can decide whether to open or close this crossing is enough evidence that the Gaza Strip is still an occupied land. There is more evidence to that. Israeli army entered the Gaza Strip several times especially in the past three months after the capture of an Israeli soldier by the Palestinian resistance.
Therefore, disengagement was not a withdrawal, but a redeployment of the Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, and evacuation of the settlers. In fact, many of the settlements were empty before disengagement was implemented.
In exchange of disengagement, the United States gave promised Israel to, fully recognize the wall Israel is building on West Bank lands, and fully recognize the major Israeli settlement blocs, which are also built on West Bank land and annex them to Israel under any final settlement. Additionally, the US committed not to pressure Israel for further negotiations with the Palestinians and that there will no return to the internationally recognized borders of 1967, and no return to the refugees.
All these promises were made by the American President George W. Bush following his meeting with Sharon on April 14, 2004.
Apparently, by making these promises, Bush has pronounced the Road Map dead. The Road Map was described as Bush’s vision for peace in the Middle East, which calls for establishing a viable Palestinian State.
The West Bank will shrink into half if the American promises to Israel were kept. Ironically, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Bush still talk about reviving the Road Map.
Can the dead be revived? Disengagement was meant to kill and replace the Road Map.