Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wake up, Jon Stewart, here's a Border Crossing Chronology

[This week's Haveil Havalim is here at Jack's! And here's Jack's Gaza Update #14.]

Jon Stewart made the uninformed assertion the other day that Israel shares blame for the current situation because they force the Gazans to stay in Gaza; he likened it to forcing a crazy person to live in the hallway outside your apartment, and then complaining when he wants to kill you.

Problem is, Israel keeps trying to open the crossings; it’s Hamas that forces them closed.

The Gaza crossings were open following Disengagement, monitored by EU agents to prevent weapons smuggling, starting in November 2005. Since then, Hamas has used them for attacks repeatedly, and forced both the EU and Israel to close them.

Here’s a timetable, followed by the relevant CNN articles as proof:

December 2005
- EU monitors left the crossings because they felt they were endangered by Hamas… and Israel re-opened the crossings anyway.

June 2006 - Hamas commences launches rockets into Israel for the first time since Disengagement. Israel keeps crossings open anyway.

July 2006 - Israel closes the crossings in response to the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit… then re-opens them anyway.

December 2006 - Israel closes the crossings in response to smuggling, and EU monitors close them because they feel they are in danger… and then Israel re-opens them anyway.

June 2007 - Israel closes the crossings in response to the Hamas takeover of Gaza, because the official Hamas charter calls for the destruction of Israel… then Israel re-opens them.

January 2008 - Israel closes border crossings in response to Hamas rocket attacks… then Israel re-opens them.

April 2008 - Israel keeps border crossings open despite Hamas terror attacks at the crossings

November 13, 2008 - Israel finally says, “Enough is enough”... until next time, I'm sure...

Here are the CNN links:

November 14, 2005
RAMALLAH, West Bank (CNN) -- Israeli and Palestinian leaders neared an agreement on Gaza border crossings Monday, officials said, prompting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to extend her visit to the region.

November 25, 2005
(CNN) -- A main crossing from southern Gaza into Egypt, closed in September as Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza, is to open Saturday following a U.S.-brokered deal between Israelis and Palestinians....
While control of the crossing is being transferred to the Palestinians, dozens of monitors from the European Union will remain for at least 12 months and will have the final word in any dispute about who and what is allowed in and out of the territory.
The border will be open only four hours a day at first, but officials say it eventually will operate 24 hours a day.

December 20, 2005
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A Palestinian police protest Friday prompted the departure of European Union monitors for safety reasons and the temporary closing of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, authorities said.
Meanwhile, gunmen attacked a Gaza police station where their relatives were being held and killed a 14-year-old Palestinian, said Palestinian security officials.
The Rafah crossing disturbance involved 100 policemen, who staged a sit-in within the terminal to protest the shooting death of a policeman Thursday.
According to Palestinian police sources, the officer was killed by the family of a drug dealer caught at the crossing terminal.

December 30, 2005
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt was closed for several hours Friday after a Palestinian police protest forced European Union monitors to leave in fear for their safety, authorities said.
In other signs of the chaos in Gaza, a 14-year-old Palestinian was killed Friday when gunmen attacked a police station where their relatives were being held, Palestinian security officials said.
And, no progress was reported in winning the release of three British hostages, kidnapped by Palestinian gunmen in Rafah earlier in the week. (Posted 11:55 a.m.)

January 3, 2006
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Random kidnappings. Daily exchanges of gunfire between police and armed militants. Different neighborhoods patrolled and controlled by competing militias.
It appears as if Gaza has degenerated into anarchy.
In just the past 10 days in the 146-square-mile territory (about twice the size of Washington, D.C.):
• Three Palestinian government offices were occupied by gunmen.
• Armed militants detonated explosives in a United Nations club.
• Three British nationals were kidnapped at gunpoint.
• An Italian man was abducted.
• Two rival families unloaded weapons at each other in a personal dispute.
• A Palestinian police officer was killed in a shootout between police and militants.
• The Palestinian-controlled border crossing was shut down by police angry at the death of their colleague, prompting European Union monitors to leave.
• Palestinian police took over government offices in their continuing protest.
• Israel launched air strikes on suspected militant targets.
Gaza was not supposed to turn out this way.
Last summer, Israel ended its 38-year military occupation of the area. For the first time in history, Gaza came under Palestinian rule.
No Ottoman Turks, no British mandate, no Egyptian control, no Israeli occupation. And in November, the Palestinian Authority took control over an international border crossing for the first time in history.
But since then, it's the absence of law and order in the territory that's been its most notable feature.

June 12 2006
Five Qassam rockets landed on the Israeli side of the Gaza border Monday morning, causing no injuries or significant damage, the Israel Defense Forces said.
The Monday launches followed a series of at least 70 rockets fired into Israel from Gaza since Friday, wounding four Israeli civilians, the Israeli forces said.
Two rockets landed near the security fence separating Gaza from Israel and three others landed near an Israeli community, the IDF said.
On Saturday, Hamas' military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, said it had resumed rocket strikes against Israel after a hiatus of more than a year.

July 15, 2006
The crossing has been closed since June 25, when three groups of Palestinian militants, including Hamas' military wing, captured an Israeli soldier.
Israel sent forces into Gaza and clamped down on residents' movements after the capture of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, 19, and the killing of two of his colleagues.

December 14, 2006
RAFAH CROSSING (CNN) -- Gunfire broke out and a border crossing was closed after Israel blocked Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya from crossing into Gaza from Egypt on Thursday.
Israeli intelligence believed Haniya was carrying "dozens of millions of dollars" of suspected Iranian money to finance militant activity, a senior Israeli security source told CNN.
Sources in Haniya's Hamas party said after Haniya was initially blocked, he planned to try to cross without bringing in money. But the European Union, which has monitors at the crossing, closed it after Hamas militants fired on terminal guards loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Militants also used explosives to put a hole in the wall at the border crossing.
Later Thursday night, however, Haniya was allowed to cross after an hours-long wait. His supporters fired gunshots in the air.

January 26 2008
Palestinians in Gaza have faced difficulty obtaining supplies since Israel sealed its border with Gaza one week ago in an effort to quell rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel.

June 18, 2007
Karni Crossing, the main Israel-Gaza border crossing, has been closed for six days. According to B'Tselem, Erez crossing was closed on Saturday and Nahal Oz was closed on Sunday.
In addition, the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza has been closed since last weekend.

April 20, 2008
Palestinian militants detonated two car bombs at an Israel-Gaza border crossing in what the Israeli military said was an attack timed to coincide with Passover. The week-long Jewish holiday began at sundown Saturday.
Under dense fog, the attackers approached the Kerem Shalom border crossing early Saturday in two explosives-laden vehicles disguised as Israeli military vehicles, according to the Israeli military. The two car bombs killed the four attackers and seriously wounded an Israeli soldier. Twelve other soldiers suffered moderate or minor injuries, the military said.
According to the Israeli military, an "alert" Israeli force detonated a fourth booby-trapped vehicle before it could detonate Sunday near the security fence surrounding Kibbutz Nirim.
"The terrorists planned to execute a wider attack, possibly kidnapping [Israeli] soldiers," according to the Israel Defense Forces. "This is the fifth attack in 10 days upon a central life-line crossing such as Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz fuel terminal."
Israel sends nearly 200 humanitarian aid trucks into Gaza every week through the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which separates southern Gaza and Israel. Last week, Israeli troops stopped an infiltration attempt by a group of Palestinian militants at Kerem Shalom, killing one and wounding another, according to Palestinian security sources.
On April 9, Palestinian militants infiltrated Israel through the Nahal Oz border crossing and fired on the fuel terminal there, killing two Israeli civilian workers. In response, Israel halted already reduced fuel shipments to Gaza.

November 13, 2008
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which provides assistance to some 80 percent of Gaza's 1.5 million people, said it was forced to suspend deliveries of fuel and humanitarian relief on Thursday because Israel closed its border crossings with Gaza.
The move comes amid escalating hostilities on the Gaza-Israel border, which is threatening a five-month truce between Israel and Palestinian militant factions in Gaza.

Get it right, Jon. Being funny isn't worth the lie.


  1. Rabbi, to paraphrase you in a recent comment, your first mistake is to listen to jon steward (second, snl, third, most of the msm) now if i may go further off topic, i was disturbed by that quote this morning by a Jewish person at the Pro - Palestinian protest yesterday in downtown Allentown. How many Jews were there? one does not JewS make. More off topic and even less PC, i'm disturbed by the pro Israel rally later this week; BECAUSE, although i support Israel, the conflict and issues should not be submitted to a popularity contest. how many people show up at a pro or con rally is irrelevant to the morality of the cause. i fully realize this rally was organized by those with a unquestionable commitment to Israel as a show of solidarity, but i'm imposing on your blog to express a different viewpoint. thank you for this venue

  2. Your blog is fascinating. You use it primarily to demonise the Palestinians, and to reassure your readership that they are righteous. It's your blog, so obviously you and sites like the Christian Coalition of America and can be as one-sided as you like - but I'd be very interested in what you have to say about peace, or how to achieve it. Not victory, but peace. As a religious leader, do you have any views on peace?

  3. mr. verran, first let me say i'm not answering for the rabbi. i do not see this blog used to demonize the palestinians, but to inject facts in a media driven emotional image often unfair to israel. for you to imply that any person, much less a rabbi, yearn for anything less than true peace is somewhat insulting. btw, do you know what sort of "peace" hamas strives for?

  4. Oh please, dont even pretend he injects facts; he recycles press releases from the Israeli government via CNN!

    I await his thoughts on peace with interest.

  5. PS Let me just modify that last post; he recycles SOME Israeli government press releases. He doesnt recycle ones like the IDF admission that the UN school that was targeted HAD NOT been the scene of rocket launches!

  6. This is another great piece and pulling the sources together is really impressive. Too bad that we would never hear this from the mainstream media.

  7. Michael-
    Thanks (for both comments).

    We can always hope that one day they'll get the story straight...

    So is this the name you've settled on? I just ask because you keep sending me comments under different names, and it's hard to keep track.
    In any case: You know quite well that I don't demonize the Palestinians; all I do is point out why Israel needs to battle Hamas. But that's separate from the main point, which is peace.
    I'm actually on the dove side in terms of peace. I'd be okay with a 3-state solution, since that seems to be what would make the Palestinians happiest. I'd be glad to see open borders and access.
    Now tell me: How do you define peace?

  8. Great article and amazing job of pulling your sources together. Should I assume you sent a copy of this to John Stewart?

    (We trusted you, John, to see things clearly. What happened?)

  9. Thank you, Carol.

    I did post a synopsis and link on the user forum on his website, but I don't have an email address for him. Please let me know if you find one around.

  10. I think Stewart was trying to point out that there is more than ONE side to the situation.

  11. I came to this blog through the link to Marc Rich, found it encouraging to read at first, then found, concealed beneath the liberalism, the common exclusion of concern for anyone who is not Jewish except insofar as he impacts on Jewish life and lives.
    It looks as if, given a scared child in an Israeli kindergarten and a Palestinian child whose legs have been blown off, you will be more outraged by the scare than by the leglessness.

  12. Bruce-
    I don't understand - I believe that there is more than one point of view, but if he thinks that another point of view is that Israel has locked the Gazans into Gaza, it's simply untrue. The facts are in front of you.

  13. Donncadh-
    Thanks for visiting, but I see things differently.

    First, I don't believe in the label of liberal or conservative. On some issues my views fit the liberal stereotype, and on others they don't; my principles are principles, not labels.

    Second, I am offended by your suggestion that I am taken with Jewish concerns alone. This blog focusses on Jewish issues rather than comments on the world at large, but look up my comments on Chinese human rights abuses, and Darfur, and then come back to me.

    Third, in terms of frightened vs. legless children, the comparison is obscene. Israel has made it clear, for years, that it wants neither traumatized children who cannot read a book or take a shower without a panic attack, nor children wounded from bombings. (Hamas, on the other hand, seems to want both - why else do they train their children in terrorist training camps?) But aside from that, your approach of blaming the victim is bizarre. If a woman were beaten and abused by her husband, and she would try every non-lethal means of ending the abuse without success, would you blame her for eventually saving her life by shooting him?