Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign Factsheet. The EU and the Rafah Crossing

Readers may find this background information important right now.
Posted by Frances Laing. Information from the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Open the Rafah crossing

In November 2005, with the signing of the Agreement on Movement and Access by Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Palestinians in Gaza were promised access to the outside world free from Israeli control through a border crossing to Egypt at Rafah. Commenting on this when the Agreement was announced, Condoleezza Rice said:

“… for the first time since 1967, Palestinians will gain control over entry and exit from their territory. This will be through an international crossing at Rafah … .”

And Javier Solana reinforced this promise on behalf of the EU:

“This is the first time that a border is opened and not controlled by the Israelis. … So as you can imagine, this is a very important step ….”

This promise to the Palestinians has not been fulfilled. In practice, Israel has had a veto on the opening of the Rafah crossing. The EU, which has provided a small force (EU BAM Rafah) to monitor the operation of the crossing, has consistently refused to send its personnel to open the crossing when Israel doesn’t want it open.

The EU BAM website states that the crossing “can only be opened by agreement between the Parties”, in other words, the EU accords Israel a veto over its opening. This is in flat contradiction to the promise made by Javier Solana that the crossing is “not controlled by the Israelis”.

The IPSC believes that this promise made to Palestinians by Javier Solana on behalf of the EU should be honoured. And so should the other promises made in the Agreement on Movement and Access:-

other crossings for people and cargo between Israel, Gaza and the West Bank will be expanded

regular bus and truck convoys between the West Bank and Gaza

the reduction of obstacles to movement on the West Bank

a seaport and airport at Gaza

None of these promises has been fulfilled. We believe they should be fulfilled.

28 March 2008

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