EU Initiative: Berlin Seeks to Stop Weapons Smuggling into Gaza
Germany wants the European Union to help monitor the borders of the Gaza Strip and prevent weapons smuggling, according to media reports. Part of the plan calls for the EU to resume a mission at the Rafah crossing point between Egypt and Gaza, and to help equip Egyptian border guards.
The German government wants the European Union to launch an inititivative to stop weapons from being smuggled into the Gaza Strip, German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday, citing an informal working paper from the German Foreign Ministry.
The German initiative calls for a "rapid reactivation" of an EU mission at the Egyptian-Palestinian border crossing at Rafah. The European Union Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) in Rafah was created in 2005 to help set up effective border management and customs processing at the site. The mission was closed down after Hamas took power in the Gaza Strip in 2007.
Training and Equipment
The German Foreign Ministry also wants Egypt to receive EU help in equipping its border police to stop smuggling. That assistance is to take the form of training and the "generous provision of border control equipment," the ministry paper says.
During its eight-day bombing campaign against missile launch sites in Gaza, Israel also attacked smuggling tunnels in Rafah. Such tunnels are used not only to transport cement, petrol, medicine, clothing, food and everyday items, but also weapons, ammunition, explosives and missile parts for Hamas.
Since the attacks ended with last week's ceasefire, the tunnel building has resumed in Rafah.
cro -- with wire reports
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