On Gaza, Egypt Blames Blockage of Rafah Crossing on
"Other Party," Strange Bedfellows Noted
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
December 29 -- As Israeli
strikes lead residents of the Gaza Strip to seek to flee south to
questions are being raised about the Egyptian government does not fully
the Rafah border crossing. Egypt's Ambassador to the UN Maged Abdelaziz
to the Press on Monday, following meetings with Ban Ki-moon and this
Security Council president Neven Jurica. Inner City Press asked
to respond to calls to open the border.
have opened the crossing in
Rafah," he said, referring to a few dozen injured allowed through for
medical treatment. "But there is another party on the other side which
limits the movement of Palestinians who would like to cross the border.
on the other parties to open the border as well." Video here,
from Minute 13:13.
listening to Ambassador Abdelaziz thought he was referring to Hamas,
the European Union Border Assistance Mission Rafah, EUBAM. The
Permanent Observer to the UN Riyad Mansour took the microphone next and
emphasized that focus should not "deviate from the consensus" that
Israel should stop its air strikes.
Riyad Mansour and Maged Abdelaziz, "other party" not shown
morning, when Inner City Press
asked Riyad Mansour if these events made it more or less likely that
his Fatah and Hamas
could work together, Mansour called this a "distraction."
asking Egypt why it plays a role in closing its border to Gaza is also
distraction, or a "deviation."
But the question must be asked. The UN's
humanitarian coordinator John
Holmes was asked about the Rafah crossing earlier
on Monday. Holmes called it
complicated, to allow only one-way passage.
Some in the United States, such as a
right-leaning TV network which asked Holmes the Rafah question, pursue
a way of absolving, or distracting from as Amb. Riyad Mansour might put
Israel's closings of its border crossings with Gaza. But Hezbollah,
asking or demanding that Egypt open its borders. Strange bedfellows, or
least, strange parties to at least on the surface be taking the same
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