Rice Urges Israel to Loosen Border Controls
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today urged Israel to open its borders to Palestinian terrorists.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested Tuesday that Israel must loosen controls at border crossings to allow freer passage for Palestinians and economic development in areas that would one day be an independent Palestinian state. Rice spoke in the Canadian capital a day after reports that a top Mideast envoy had criticized Israel for moving too slowly on negotiations to open borders around the Gaza Strip.
Israel withdrew troops and settlers from Gaza over the summer after nearly 30 years. The territory, now under Palestinian control, is on the other side of Israel from the larger Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank, and Palestinians must cross Israel or go through Egypt to pass between the two areas. “It is very clear that the crossings issues need to get resolved,” Rice said.
She did not specifically call on Israel to change its border policies, but did not dispute the findings of envoy James Wolfensohn that Israel was stalling in the restoration of movement across the borders. Wolfensohn, the former World Bank president now working as a special envoy on behalf of the United States and other foreign mediators, said the delay was preventing him from moving on to larger reconstruction efforts, such as tourism, agriculture and industrial projects.
Perhaps there is something in the Canadian air that causes politicians to start spouting nonsense. Very little the Israelis have done to combat Palestinian terrorists has worked. One of the few exceptions has been putting up a wall and making it very hard to get through.
Yes, this is bad for the Palestinians and yes, it would be swell if the free flow of commerce could happen one day in the not-too-distant future. It would benefit both sides tremendously. That can’t happen, though, until the Palestinian Authority demonstrates that they have both the desire and capacity for controlling the terrorists.