Mofaz: Stop Gaza chaos
Palestinian leader Abbas: Mistakes were made in wake of pullout, Gaza-Egypt border now sealed off. PA officials: Drugs, weapons smuggled in from Egypt in recent days. Mofaz meets with security officials, asks them to increase dialogue with the Egyptians and Palestinians and demand that they act immediately, as 'the situation cannot continue for even one more day'
“The mistakes were fixed and now everything is under control,” he said.
Following the IDF’s withdrawal from the Philadelphi route, the area became completely porous with thousands of people crossing into and out of Gaza. Among those who took advantage of the lawlessness were Palestinians who have not seen their relatives for many years.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz met with senior security establishment officials to assess the Gaza situation and discuss the PA’s inability to enforce order.
He instructed the officials to increase dialogue with the Egyptians and Palestinians and demand that they act immediately, as “the situation cannot continue for even one more day.”
Mofaz also ordered the IDF to heighten security inspections in the Erez and Karni crossings and in the around-Gaza area, adding that the army must expand the security buffer zone in north Gaza in order to further distance it from Israeli towns situated along the border with Gaza.
The defense minister said Israel would respond harshly to any attack emanating from Gaza in order to “create deterrence.”
On Thursday, the Palestinian Authority admitted that weapons, drugs, and other merchandize were smuggled in through the border in the Rafah area, after the fence there was breached immediately following the IDF’s withdrawal.
An official Palestinian announcement noted that the smuggling was facilitated by exploiting the celebratory mood of local residents.
The PA also advised residents who entered or left Gaza to return to their place of residence immediately and stay away from the border area, in order not to disrupt efforts to curb smuggling.
Meanwhile, PA security forces working in conjunction with Egyptian forces continued to seal off all the border breaches. Meanwhile, PA National Security Advisor Jibril Rajoub continued in the past two days to finalize outstanding border issues to ensure the area remains sealed off.
As part of the effort, the presence of the elite Force 17, the presidential guard, was boosted in the area.