Protesting Egyptian police block Gaza crossing

GAZA Fri May 17, 2013 12:38pm EDT

1 of 3. A member of Hamas security forces stands guard in front of the closed gate of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip May 17, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

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GAZA (Reuters) - Egyptian police blocked the crossing into the Gaza Strip on Friday in protest against the kidnapping of seven of their colleagues by Islamist gunmen, witnesses said.

Officers strung barbed wire across the Rafah border post and chained up the gates, leaving hundreds of Palestinians stranded on both sides of the fence, locals told Reuters.

Gunmen abducted the seven police and soldiers on a road between the Sinai towns of el-Arish and Rafah on Thursday, demanding the release of imprisoned militants in exchange for the men.

Three of those abducted have worked at the crossing, locals told Reuters.

Hardline Islamist groups based in North Sinai have exploited the collapse of state authority after the 2011 uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak to launch attacks across the border into Israel and on Egyptian targets.

The protesting police called on Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to help free their colleagues. They said they would not open the crossing until the men were released, state news agency MENA reported.

A policeman was released shortly after the abduction as a sign of goodwill, but there was no information on the six remaining men, security sources told Reuters.

(Reporting by Nidal Almughrabi; Additional reporting by Yusri Mohamed in Ismailia, Egypt)

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Reuters1945 wrote:
The only way to prevent kidnapping is to make the price for doing so sufficiently high so that kidnappers will think carefully about perpetrating such cowardly acts.

In this instance it looks like Egypt has learned something from Israel’s very costly, past mistakes.

When an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit was kidnapped and held incommunicado for more than five years in Gaza, Israel never once “took off the gloves”, to get the soldier released.

And so the poor soldier languished for five years denied even the most basic humanitarian right to be visited even one time by the International Red Cross.

In the end, Israel finally agreed to release more than one thousand cold blooded, convicted murderers, from its prisons in order to get this one single soldier released and returned to his family.

That decision tore Israel apart at the time, especially the families these murderers had emotionally destroyed by robbing parents of the chance to see their murdered children grow up.

At the time I recommended that all Israel had to do was turn off the electricity to Gaza, which Israel supplies, and the soldier would have been released faster than a speeding bullet.

This time it is Egyptians in uniform who have been kidnapped by gunmen.

But apparently the Egyptians have learned something from Israel’s incredible five year failure to rescue one of its own, not to mention the astronomical price Israel paid in the end to get the man back.

Egypt’s solution: Lock the Gates at the Border crossing and hopefully in the next weeks take much more drastic measures, to make the gunmen release the kidnapped Egyptians.

Of course the “politically correct” both inside and outside Gaza, will cry that such measures represent “collective punishment” which is precisely why Israel never turned off the electricity supply to Gaza to force the release of their own kidnapped Israeli soldier.

But unfortunately, history has proven over and over again, as in Chamberlain’s capitulation to Hitler’s outrageous early demands, that lack of resolve is always interpreted as weakness and sometimes the best tactic in the long run, and least harmful and least hurtful to the majority, is to employ swift, decisive modes of action that speak louder than any words.

Should Egypt make the same mistake that Israel made in the case of Gilad Shalit, the seven kidnapped Egyptian soldiers could end up languishing in some hole in Gaza for years whilst their families are forced to suffer in silence.

If Egypt is wise, they will hit back fast and hard and make certain the message gets through, loud and clear: “You kidnap an Egyptian and you will see so much pain visited on you that you will never make that same mistake again”.

This will be a learning curve for Egypt. For the sake of these seven kidnapped Egyptians and their families I hope they will profit by the mistakes of others in dealing with such kidnapping situations.

May 18, 2013 6:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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