Barak attacks Mubarak after Palestinian pilgrims crossed Rafah terminal
|Saturday, January 5,2008 02:12|
Israeli officials expressed "grave concern" about Egypt"s permission to thousands of Palestinian pilgrims to cross into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah terminal contrary to what Israel wanted.
Israeli war minister Ehud Barak, who was in Cairo few days ago, attacked the person of Egyptian president Husni Mubarak and described him as "weak leader" after he instructed Egypt"s security forces to open the gate for the pilgrims to pass.
The Hebrew Roter website on the internet quoted Barak as alleging that "Mubarak"s weak health and old age made him unable to control his security forces".
Barak also charged that Egypt reneged on earlier understandings with Israel not to allow the Palestinian pilgrims into the tiny Strip through the Rafah crossing point.
The AFP, for its part, quoted another high-ranking Israeli official as describing Egypt"s permission to a number of Hamas political leaders who were among the pilgrims to cross into Gaza Strip without security inspection as "worrisome".
The official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, alleged that the Egyptian behavior could jeopardize peace effortslm in the region.
Three elderly sick female pilgrims stranded at the border point died after Israel refused to allow them entry into Gaza Strip through Rafah crossing point, but the international community remained indifferent to the pilgrims" tragedy.
Israel wanted the Palestinian pilgrims to pass through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing point in order to subject them to security inspection before granting them entry, but the pilgrims made up their minds not to use any crossing point other than the Rafah terminal.
The legitimate PA government under Premier Ismael Haneyya exerted tremendous efforts and contacted Egyptian, Jordanian, and Saudi officials to ensure safety of the pilgrims and to allow them into their homeland through the Rafah terminal.