Watchman Newsletter

Deputy FM: Gaza smuggling on the rise amid Mideast unrest

Haaretz (Link) - AP (March 10, 2011)

The deputy foreign minister said on Thursday that arms smuggling from Egypt into the Gaza Strip has grown following the unrest in the Arab world.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon says Israel has observed �increased activity� in Gaza. He accused militants of �trying to take advantage of the uncertainties in the region to booster their capabilities to attack Israeli cities and Israeli citizens.�

Ayalon says explosives and terrorists are also being smuggled to the strip. Gaza militants have fired thousands of rockets at Israel in recent years.

Since the Egyptian revolution brought down longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, many have questioned whether the longstanding peace treaty between Israel and Egypt will still stand.

Earlier this week, an Egyptian diplomat said his country�s military leadership is considering loosening the travel restrictions on Palestinians leaving the neighboring Gaza Strip.

Such a change could mark a significant easing of the long-standing blockade of Gaza that has drawn widespread international criticism for its impact on the lives of Palestinian civilians in the coastal enclave.

Working with Israel, former President Mubarak had greatly restricted the movement of people and goods out of the coastal strip after Hamas militants seized power in Gaza nearly four years ago.

Last month, grad rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel for the first time since the Gaza war in 2009. �

Islam ~ Israel