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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 24-Jan-08
In dramatic scene, 60,000 Gazans pour into Egypt through holes blasted through border wall

Web Log - January, 2008

In dramatic scene, 60,000 Gazans pour into Egypt through holes blasted through border wall

Euphoric Gazans go shopping, bring back food, fuel and fertilizer.


Gazans pour through hole blasted in border wall with Egypt. <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: BBC)</font>
Gazans pour through hole blasted in border wall with Egypt. (Source: BBC)

According to reporting by the UK Times Online, the destruction of the border wall separating Gaza from Egypt at Rajaf was the culmination of six months of clandestine work by Hamas militants, cutting through the metal fence and laying explosives. The explosives were set off in 17 different places early Wednesday morning, effectively destroying two-thirds of the entire border wall.

The news spread quickly, and within a few hours Gazans were pouring through the holes into Egypt in a wild party atmosphere.

According to a Telegraph reporter on the scene:

"First came the teenagers, curious to see what would happen to them on a border where, until very recently, they could expect to be shot on sight.

Then came the smugglers, aware a good turn was to be made on cigarettes bought in Egypt for 9 a carton but sold in Gaza for nearer 25.

Finally came crowds and crowds of normal Gazans, men and women, old and young, some on bicycles, a few being pushed in wheelchairs, simply enjoying the rare sensation of freedom.

And somewhere in the teeming crowd, came people anxious to exploit the day for their own less innocent purposes.

Fertiliser, broken down into half bags for lugging through the many tunnels that arms smugglers normally use for delivery into Gaza, was to be seen as it was manhandled overland.

It was white, oily, crystalline and a dab on the tongue left a sharp, burning sensation.

In most countries fertiliser has a perfectly innocent function but in Gaza militants use it to make explosive."


Euphoric Gazans carry goods back to Gaza from Egypt. <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: Der Spiegel)</font>
Euphoric Gazans carry goods back to Gaza from Egypt. (Source: Der Spiegel)

This is why the Israelis are going to be extremely anxious over this border crossing opening. The open border presents opportunities to Hamas terrorists to import more sophisticated equipment and materials for making bombs, rockets and missiles.

However, for the Palestinians it was a welcome opportunity to get out of their "open air prison" and make contact with other people.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said that he had ordered the border guards to allow the Palestinians to cross into Egypt because they were starving. "I told them to let them come in and eat and buy food and then return them later as long as they were not carrying weapons," he said.

However, there's no actual evidence that any Gazans are starving.

One thing that I found startling is that a number of news stories about this event portrayed it mainly as a public relations event.

A Newsweek story says: "Over the last few weeks, the Islamists have looked much more adept at playing the public-relations game, using powerful television images to stoke international sympathies."

A Reuters story quotes Danny Ayalon, Israel's former ambassador to the United States, as saying that, "This was a resounding failure, a public relations disaster," he said.

However, it's hard for me to see this as anything less than a major change in the Palestinian situation, perhaps comparable in importance to Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, an event that has this big a change in the attitudes of a large mass of people can cause a very substantial political stage. As I discussed last week, every event, almost without exception, that's occurred in this region since the death of Yasser Arafat has only increased the level of chaos, and there's no reason to assume that this won't do the same.

Here are some things to watch out for in the next few hours, days and weeks:

When you really think about it, there's no scenario where this event adds to the stability of the region. It's hard to see a return to the status quo ante, with the border closed and no change to the plight of the Gazans. So something is going to change, and it's bound to be destabilizing.

The first major international prediction that I posted on this web site was on May 1, 2003, just as President Bush was advocating the new "Mideast Roadmap to Peace" that called for a Palestinian state alongside Israel: "Will Mideast roadmap bring peace?" In that article I predicted that the Roadmap for Peace would never work, and that the Mideast would descent further into chaos, especially after Yasser Arafat disappeared, and that there would be a new genocidal war between Jews and Arabs, refighting the genocidal war of 1949 that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. That prediction has been on track since I made it, and it's hard to see how the blasting of the border wall with Egypt can do anything but help the chaos along. (24-Jan-08) Permanent Link
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