Website policy

We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.


BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine

JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



Egypt’s interim leaders to open Rafah crossing this weekend

Egypt to re-open Gaza border crossing over objections from Egypt

By Ernesto Londono and Joel Greenberg, Published: May 25
Washington Post
CAIRO — Egypt will permanently open its border crossing with the Gaza Strip this weekend, the government announced Wednesday, underscoring how dramatically the uprisings that are roiling the Arab world could reshape the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Egypt’s interim military leaders, who had been instrumental in implementing the blockade under orders from then-President Hosni Mubarak, appeared to be responding to an increasingly vocal and empowered constituency that wants Egypt to decisively back the Palestinian cause.
The Rafah crossing is the only official entry point outside Israel into the Gaza Strip, an area slightly more than twice the size of Washington that is home to about 1.5 million Palestinians. Opening it will ease the blockade imposed by Israel — and supported by Egypt — after the Islamist movement Hamas took control of the strip in 2007. Israel fears the move could make it easier for the Iran-backed group to stockpile weapons.
The move comes as President Obama is stepping up pressure on Israel to acknowledge the new realities that the ongoing revolutions in the Middle East may bring. In a speech last week, Obama endorsed a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on Israel’s 1967 boundaries, with mutually agreed upon land swaps.
But during a state visit to Washington this week, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu presented uncompromising positions on negotiations for a Palestinian state, dimming already slim hopes for the resumption of peace talks.
Reconciliation efforts
A report by Egypt’s state-run Middle East News Agency said the Rafah crossing is being opened to “end the status of the Palestinian division and achieve national reconciliation,” a reference to Palestinian factions in Gaza and the West Bank.
Ghazi Hamad, the deputy foreign minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, said in a telephone interview that Egypt linked opening the border to the recent reconciliation pact it brokered between Hamas and Fatah, the mainstream Palestinian faction that administers the West Bank.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby announced a day after the reconciliation deal was struck last month that his country would soon take steps to ease the blockade, describing the nation’s involvement in it as “shameful.” The formal announcement Wednesday set the timing and terms and made clear that the initiative has the backing of the military generals who are serving as the country’s interim rulers until elections later this year.
“This is a very positive step,” Hamad said, adding that it could herald “a new era” in the Gaza Strip.
Egyptians have long supported the idea of a Palestinian state, and many harbor animosity toward Israel, fueled by a succession of Arab-Israeli wars. As Egyptians have continued to take to the streets in recent weeks to call for an array of reforms, Palestinian flags have become increasingly visible in those gatherings.
Earlier this month, hundreds of demonstrators were wounded and dozens were detained after riot police used tear gas and bullets to disperse protesters outside the Israeli Embassy in Cairo who were marking the anniversary of the 1948 establishment of Israel.
“Egypt has been under significant domestic and regional pressure to open the crossing and change the policy on Gaza,” said Elijah Zarwan, a Cairo-based analyst with the International Crisis Group think tank. “I think there’s been a recognition for a while that the crisis in Gaza had been a ticking bomb on Egypt’s doorstep.”
Under and after Mubarak
In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel, and Mubarak maintained formal ties with Israel during his three decades of rule. That policy came with trade and security dividends, but it became an irritant in the Arab world.
Bowing to Israeli concerns, and hoping to limit interaction between Hamas and Islamists in Egypt who opposed his regime, Mubarak’s government restricted the flow of people and goods through the Rafah crossing for much of the past four years. Until last year, Egypt opened the crossing only for a few days at a time, every several weeks, for a limited number of people, mostly students and people seeking medical care.
After a deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish flotilla carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials to Gaza in May 2010, Mubarak opened the crossing on a daily basis but restricted passage. The flotilla incident drew renewed international attention to the closure of the Israeli and Egyptian borders with Gaza, compelling Israel to ease its blockade.
Since the Egyptian revolution that ousted Mubarak in February, no more than 300 Palestinians a day were allowed to cross into Egypt from Gaza. Now that limit will be lifted, officials said, and other restrictions will be eased. The border will reopen Saturday, when old rules allowing Palestinians with passports to cross into Egypt between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on business days will kick in again, the MENA report said.
The Obama administration played down the significance of the full reopening of the crossing.
“The United States supports efforts to meet the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people in Gaza,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. “Efforts should also ensure that the transfer of weapons or other materiel and financial support for terrorism is blocked.”
But Nabil Fahmy, a former Egyptian ambassador to the United States who is a dean at the American University in Cairo, said the shift is long overdue.
“The decision is a correction of an immoral and ineffective policy of the past,” he said late Wednesday. “It reflects a posture that Egypt will pursue policies in line with those of everyone else in the Middle East.”
Israel keeps its Gaza crossings mostly closed to Palestinian passage, except for a limited number of people with permits to cross for medical treatment at Israeli hospitals or for business purposes.
Despite Israeli and Egyptian efforts to prevent weapons smuggling, Hamas has used tunnels along the Egyptian border to get weapons into Gaza. Israel has warned that fully reopening the Rafah crossing could allow Hamas to build up its arsenal, and on Wednesday, an Israeli official urged Egypt to continue blocking arms shipments to Hamas.
“Israel has no problem with civilian goods getting into the Gaza Strip,” said the official, who would discuss Israel’s position only on the condition of anonymity. “Our focus is on preventing Hamas from building up its very deadly terrorist military machine.”
Greenberg reported from Jerusalem. Staff writer Joby Warrick in Washington contributed to this report.

Print Friendly

Comments are closed.