2008 Breach Of The Gaza–Egypt Border
The breach of the Gaza-Egypt border began on 23 January 2008, after Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip set off an explosion near the Rafah Border Crossing, destroying part of the Israel and Egypt – Gaza Strip barrier. The United Nations estimates that as many as half the 1.5 million population of the Gaza Strip crossed the border into Egypt seeking food and supplies. Israeli police went on an increased alert due to fears that militants would acquire weapons in Egypt.
Egypt closed the Rafah Border Crossing in June 2007, days before the Hamas took control of Gaza at the end of the Fatah-Hamas conflict; The breach followed a blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel beginning in part that same June, with fuel supply reductions in October 2007. A total blockade had begun on 17 January 2008 following a rise in rocket attacks on Israel emanating from Gaza.
Although Israel demanded Egypt reseal the border due to security concerns, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered his troops to allow crossings to alleviate the humanitarian crisis, while verifying that the Gazans did not attempt to bring weapons back into Gaza.
The United Nations Human Rights Council condemned Israel for the 15th time in less than two years on 24 January, calling the blockade collective punishment. However, the proceedings were boycotted by Israel and the United States.
On 27 January 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised that Israel would no longer disrupt the supply of food, medicine and necessary energy into the Gaza Strip. President Mubarak meanwhile announced plans to meet separately with representatives of Hamas and Fatah to come to a new border control agreement.
In five days, Gazans spent some US$250 million in Egypt's North Sinai Governorate's capital of Arish alone. The sudden enormous demand there for staple products led to large local price rises and some shortages.
On 3 February 2008, Gaza's Foreign minister, Mahmoud al-Zahar, announced that Hamas and Egypt would cooperate in controlling the border without Israeli oversight. The border was closed, after 11 days, except for travelers returning home.
Read more about 2008 Breach Of The Gaza–Egypt Border: Background, Humanitarian Crisis, Breaching of Wall, UN Reaction, Israel Government Response, Border Control Talks, Closure of Border, Economic Effects, International Response
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