Sunday, September 11, 2005

over and OUT...

ITs almost midnight. In a few hours-they will be gone. They of course, being the soldiers that have for so long made our lives miserable here. Already sporadic celebrations are taking place in Gaza-these celebrations feel much more real that the "manufactured" ones when disengagement first began several weeks ago. people are out on the streets, singing, dancing, lighting firecrackers. They are gathering near settlements-everyone wants a peek of what's inside (not much, I hear from PA and EU officials who visited some of the sites today).

According to officials who visited the settlements-everything has been destroyed, uprooted, ripped out, or looted. Sabri Saidam, Minister of Telecommunications, compared it to the Katrina disaster zone. An European official I spoke with said even the greenhouses-for which the settlers were PAID something like $40 million to keep, were dismantled-only the tarp and wire was kept in tact, everything IN the greenhouses was destroyed or taken back. He told me some settlers came back in and offered to "re-sell" the machinery that kept the greenhouses going.

Everything was taken out, even light sockets. Trees were uprooted, electricity lines were cut, and vegetation was not watered for 15 days leaving a "scorched earth." The official also told me how he saw so-called sewage treatement facilities: "basically it was one big septic tank-the sewage was dumped onto gaza dunes, and filtered into the Coastal Aqcuifer."

Of course, besides the total destruction of all infrastructure that could have used by Gaza's Palestinians, Israel has also left unanswered the questoin of control over borders. So yes, they HAVE left Gaza as one big prison. They left, and quite literally locked the door on their way out. All border crossings are now closed indefinitely. No one can leave and come in.

In a press conference held Sunday afternoon in Gaza City, Minister of Civil Affairs Mohammad Dahalan accused Israel of imposing a solution upon the Palestinain regarding the Rafah Crossing.

"Everyone knows Israel has a clear plan to force us to agree on the Israel proposal to close the Rafah Crossing and move it to Kerem Shalom. There has been no agreement on the issue of border control yet and we blame Israel fully for leaving Gaza imprisoned," he said.

"Our position is clear: we absolutely refuse that the current crossing be moved to anywhere else. If it is moved to Kerem Shalom, this will mean greater suffering for Palestinians. The crossing has to be fully Palestinian -Egyptian. We refuse any other proposal."

Dahalan reiterated that the decision to close the Rafah Crossing to Palestinain travellers was a unilateral Israeli one, in which Palestinians took no part. He also warned Israeli against evacuating Gaza and leaving it as a large prison.

"If the Israelis think they will leave and close this place up they are mistaken. If they think the palestinains will remain quiet in the face of collective imprisonment, they are mistaken."

More tommorow I hope after I finally will get a chance to tour the vacated settlements....


Blogger umkahlil said...

Please forward to Tom at information clearing house. All we're reading about in the mainstream press (sometimes the lead) is that synagogues (which we know contain no more religious symbols) are being burned. Thank you, umyousuf. You're much appreciated.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Moses said...

Can internationals use Rafah crossing?

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was under the impression the PA didn't want the equipment, infrastructure, and building that the Israelies would be leaving behind.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Dan Eisenberg said...

From this article it seems the Israelis pulled out and now the Egyptians are controlling the border. Do you have other information?

1:09 AM  
Blogger Laila said...

Rattu: Israel unilaterally shut down the old Rafah Crossing to force the PA to accept the proposal of hte new crossing at Kerem Shalom. The Egyptians are stopping people from crossing over on their side, and of course on the Palestinain side the police wont' allow you out. Plus there is no one running the atually passport terminal itself at the moment since the Israeli Airport Authority left, but didnt' officailly hand the crossing over to the PA. So why can't people just go? The Israeli army continues to control and monitor the crossing from afar. So basically if someone was to "slip" through (not likely, its kind of hard to just meander across the crossing with a bunch of bags and no means of transport) the Israelis would know about it, and if you do slip though, Egyptian border police would shoot at us.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

ANonymous: There was agreement to between the PA and Israel to keep some of the infrastructure-in fact Wolfenson and others paid the settlers $40 million to keep the some of the infrastructure there, but it was taken anyway. Plus there is not rational reason to destroy trees and vegetation on your way out-that is cruel and inhumane.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Dan Eisenberg said...

It was reported today over the wires that Palestinians were looting the greenhouses while Abbas was there. Is there any objective assesment as far as how much was "scortched" versus pilliged?

7:49 PM  
Blogger Fatima said...

I know I'm posting this comment long after teh event, but this reminds me alot of the incident during Prophet Muhammad's time, can't remember if it was Banu Qaynuqa or banu Qurayzah, who basically destroyed everything so the Muslims couldn't use it when they left their homes.

9:23 AM  

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