A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
January 23, 2008 Egyptian Gaza Border Broken Open by Hamas
Gaza continues to dominate the news. Last night Palestinians in Gaza destroyed the border wall between the Gaza Strip and Sinai, Egypt. 200,000 Palestinians streamed into Egypt in search of products to buy. At the moment there is not a border barrier. What does it mean? First, clearly Hamas has been very good at playing public opinion and forcing Egypt not to stop with force the destruction of the border fence. The images of Egyptian troops from yesterday firing on the Palestinians, which Hamas orchestrated, limited what Barak could do and he probably acquiesced to the border destruction today. Is it important in the long run? It is not clear what the negatives are, other then releasing some of the pressure on the Hamas to stop the firing. The greater problem is what an open border with Gaza does to Egypt. The greater connection with Hamas, the greater danger with its equivalent in Egyptian, the Muslim Brotherhood, and that can create problems.
Prime Minister Olmert spoke at the Herzliya Conference today (it is called the Herzliya Conference because it is run and organized by the Interdisciplinary Center, which is in Herzliya). He effectively previewed the defense he is going to offer when the Winograd Commission report comes out next week. He spoke about how the North has been quiet since the end of the war, and this is the longest period that the North has been quiet. That is not all that convincing. At the same time, the former Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court, Aharon Barak, spoke to the conference, he took the occasion to attack Minister of Justice in the strongest terms. He claimed that Friedmann’s attempts to weaken the Supreme Court and increase involvement of politicians in the selection of judges was threatening Israel’s democracy. This has been Barak’s strongest attack on Friedmann.