If the EU Leaves Rafah, Israel Risks Renewing Responsibility

If European monitors are withdrawn from the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, Israel may be forced to re-establish its responsibility for Gaza.

European officials stated this week that their monitors may be removed soon from the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt due to Israel's consistent closure of the crossing since the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit (25/06/06).

The Europeans consider this action a breach of the "Agreement on Movement and Access" (11/05), arguing that Israel is using collective punishment in order to pressure the Palestinians to release the captured soldier.

The Reut Institute contends that the collapse of the border supervision mechanism due to Israeli actions may either:

  1. leave the external perimeter of the Gaza Strip breached and unsupervised, or
  2. force Israel to renew its responsibility in the Philadephi route to prevent arms smuggling, thus undermining the Disengagement achievement of reducing Israel's responsibility for Gaza.

The collapse of the Rafah arrangement would aggravate the security crisis in Gaza and may even force Israel to reinstate elements of its occupation of Gaza.

Furthermore, the model of international involvement in either Lebanon or the Palestinian Territories is threatened if Israel is perceived by the international community to consistently violate such arrangements.


Reuters, 9/5/06, click here for the full article