Gaza Border Remains Out Of Control

Egyptian border guards place barbed wire to prevent people from crossing the border between the Rafah Refugee Camp in the southern Gaza Strip and Egypt Friday, Sept. 16, 2005.
AP
Thousands of Palestinians broke through Egyptian and Palestinian Authority lines on the Gaza border Friday, pouring into Egypt in defiance of government attempts to secure the frontier.

It was the second afternoon in a row when crowd power overwhelmed the measures imposed in the morning to restore order on the Gaza-Egypt border, the Palestinians' only outlet to the world that avoids Israel.

Tension is rising between Israel and Egypt with the collapse of border security, reports CBS News Correspondent Robert Berger. With weapons and people flowing across the now-porous border from Egypt into Gaza, Israel has lodged a protest with Cairo.

Friday's surge started when Palestinians waiting to cross pelted their own security forces with stones at the Saladin gate, the main informal crossing on the border, in Rafah. When the Palestinian security officials gave way, the crowd pushed through the iron gateway and tackled the Egyptian police.

Policemen tried to beat the crowd back with sticks, but they were overwhelmed. There was no official figure for the number of Palestinians who entered Egypt, but The Associated Press estimated them at about 5,000.

In other news:

  • The Palestinian Authority's Information Minister said the PA would rather deal with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's challenger for leadership of his party, Benjamin Netanyahu, than with Sharon, because they believe "the wimp Netanyahu" is more "flexible" than the incumbent, whom Nabil Shaath says is "a mixture of strength, racist hatred, and the ability to take on his own people."
  • Sharon's speech to the United Nations Thursday has disappointed Palestinians, reports Berger. He said the West Bank security barrier will be built and that Jerusalem will remain the undivided and eternal capital of the Jewish people.
  • The Israeli government has informed evicted Gaza settlers that if they don't leave hotels, each family will be charged $33 dollars a day for their rooms. The price will double in two weeks. The purpose is to pressure the settlers to accept alternative housing provided by the government.