Daily Israel Report

European Union Observers Rebuffed Again by Hamas

EU monitors have once again been told by Hamas their services are “not required” at the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 12/19/2012, 12:09 PM

Rafiah crossing: Egyptian Troops stand guard
Rafiah crossing: Egyptian Troops stand guard
Flash 90

EU monitors have once again been told by Hamas their services are “not required” at the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

On Monday, the Gaza official in charge of the region's crossings, Maher Abu Sabha, was quoted by the Palestinian Authority-based website Alresalah as saying the “'Europeans' had started to talk about their return to the crossing to maintain security," following their exit from the region in 2007.

But Abu Sabha reportedly told Kuwaiti television station 'Alresalah Net' there was “no need for them to return, as they abandoned patients who died at the Rafiah crossing while in urgent need of care.” He said that the crossing is under PA sovereignty and “does not need European foreign intervention.”

If the EU wants to help the PA, said Abu Sabha, “they should work to lift the siege imposed on Gaza, and reconstruct what Israeli occupation destroyed in the last two wars.”

The report also quoted private sources who said EU requests to visit the crossing had already been denied by Gaza's Hamas government.

The remarks by Abu Sabha came apparently in response to a recent announcement by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton that the European body was considering redeployment of its monitors at the crossing.

Although the EU Border Assistance Mission (EU BAM) presence technically is mandated by an agreement reached in November 2005 between the PA and Israel to end on June 30 2013, it effectively ended in 2007, when Hamas seized control of Gaza.

The terrorist organization won a landslide majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) during the 2006 Palestinian Authority elections, although the PA chairmanship remained with Fatah and PLO head Mahmoud Abbas.

Barely a year later, the two factions battled in the streets of Gaza, and a bloody militia civil war ended with Hamas ousting Fatah from the region, which it has since ruled with an iron fist.

“EU BAM has not been redeployed at the RCP (Rafiah Crossing Point) since 2007 due to Hamas' control of the Gaza Strip,” affirmed the European Union in a statement on its website. “Nevertheless, the EU … stands ready to redeploy to the crossing point should the political and security conditions allow.”