Israeli officials recommend international arbitration against Egypt after opening Rafah

Saleh Naami , Monday 30 May 2011

Israeli commentators say opening the crossing violates the Camp David agreement because it puts Israel's security at risk

Israeli military and political circles are recommending the pursuit of international arbitration against the Egyptian government over its decision to permanently open the Rafah crossing.

Israeli officials and commentators said on Israeli television that the Egyptian decision violates international law because the Camp David agreement prohibits opening any crossing between Egyptian and Palestinian territory that would put Israel’s national security at risk.

But other Israeli government officials believe that pursuing international arbitration would lead to a serious deterioration in relations between Israel and Egypt at a critical time and would not be in Israel’s interest.   

In the meantime Shlomo Avineri, former director general of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, criticised the Israeli government’s panic over the opening of the Rafah crossing.

In an op-ed in the Israeli daily Haaretz, he said Israel must lift the naval and air blockades on Gaza and at the same time shut down entirely the land crossing points between Israel and Gaza.

“The border between Israel and Gaza should be like the border between Israel and Lebanon, and just as Israel is not imposing a naval blockade on Lebanon it should not be imposing one on Gaza” he added.


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