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JERUSALEM – After a third consecutive day of thousands of Palestinians – including known terrorists – passing freely between Egypt and Gaza, a senior Palestinian Authority official told WorldNetDaily last night he is pessimistic troops will be able to restore order in the area.
The senior official, who spoke by cell phone from Gaza City on condition of anonymity because he says he doesn’t “want to get into trouble,” told WND: “I’ll admit that right now there is no Egypt Gaza border, it’s all open wide.”
Three days after Israel removed the last of its troops and military installations from the Gaza Strip, Palestinians continued to flow across the Egyptian border, many to meet relatives or to stock up on cheap products.
Yesterday, Hamas members used explosives to blow a hole in a concrete fence that runs along the Egypt border, after first clearing the area to prevent casualties. Neither Egyptian nor Palestinian security forces interfered. Afterward, thousands more Palestinians poured across the border.
“Egypt promised us they would close the border by now,” said the Palestinian official. “It was only supposed to be opened for a short time as a humanitarian gesture to the families that have been living under Israeli occupation and were unable to travel. Egypt needs to get its act together because it’s making [the Palestinians] look bad.”
Egypt earlier pledged to restore order to the area and warned Palestinians it would impose border controls starting yesterday that would require passports for entry and exit.
But as of late last night, the border crossing was wide open, and Palestinians were flowing in and out of both sides.
Egyptian guards Tuesday even discovered a weapons-smuggling tunnel just south of the Rafah crossing point, which is directly adjacent to Gaza’s former Jewish towns. Palestinian police reportedly confiscated 38 firearms and three rocket propelled grenades from the tunnel.
Said the Palestinian official: “Order is not going well. We can see what happens tomorrow, but right now the Egyptians are not in control.”
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia is expected to head to Egypt in the next few days to discuss how to coordinate security at the border. Egypt agreed with Israel to deploy 750 troops along the Egypt-Gaza border to impose security and stop weapons smuggling, which runs rampant in the area.
Amos Gilad, an adviser to Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, blasted the current border situation.
“The infiltration of Palestinians constitutes a potential threat to Egypt’s security, and the Egyptians are aware of this,” Gilad told Israeli radio. “Some take advantage of the situation along the border to smuggle arms and ammunition into the Gaza Strip, which will be used to carry out attacks, but also to defy the Palestinian Authority.
Amos continued, “Egypt is a big country which claims to respect the agreements it signs. It is inconceivable that Egypt as a sovereign state does not control its frontiers.”