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Archive for Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Gaza Strip residents celebrate first day of freedom from Israelis

September 13, 2005

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— Fifteen-year-old Mahmoud Barbakh's first dip in the salty sea was "the sweetest thing in the whole world."

The boy grew up only minutes from the Mediterranean. But the beach was restricted to Israeli settlers, and he never jumped in the water until the fences and restrictions came down Monday.

Mahmoud was one of Gaza's 1.3 million Palestinians who got their first taste of freedom after Israeli troops left the coastal strip. They took full possession of the territory for the first time following hundreds of years of subjugation by the Ottoman Empire, the British, the Egyptians and finally the Israelis.

"These are days of glory," Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas declared.

Hundreds of people scaled the border fence and entered Egypt, raising Israeli concerns about whether Palestinian and Egyptian security can control the territory.

For one day, euphoria poured over this overcrowded and economically depressed sliver of land.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar sits outside the Jewish synagogue shaped as a Star of David at the evacuated Jewish settlement of Neve Dekalim, Gaza Strip. In what he said was a show of triumph, Zahar performed Muslim prayers in the synagogue building Monday.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar sits outside the Jewish synagogue shaped as a Star of David at the evacuated Jewish settlement of Neve Dekalim, Gaza Strip. In what he said was a show of triumph, Zahar performed Muslim prayers in the synagogue building Monday.

"Since last night, I have been in the street, for no reason, just to breathe the air of freedom," said Samir Khader, a farmer in northern Gaza who had needed permits to go in and out of his village, flanked by Jewish settlements.

Important issues lie ahead, including a decision over who will control the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

Abbas raised a Palestinian flag over the Rafah border crossing to Egypt. The crossing remained closed; Israel shut it last week, and the Israelis and Palestinians have not reached agreement on whether it will be reopened.

Concerned over increased weapons smuggling, Israel initially hesitated to leave the Gaza-Egypt border as part of the pullout. It agreed only after the Egyptian government promised to deploy 750 troops.

But the border turned to chaos just hours after the Israelis withdrew early Monday, with hundreds of Palestinians climbing over the towering wall on the Gaza side and then jumping over the low wall on the Egyptian side. Hooded Palestinian gunmen stood atop the Palestinian wall.

Comments

letsgetwise 9 years, 3 months ago

In pictures I have seen, the synagogues are being burned as the Muslims laugh. In the comments I have read, there was questioned if the Israelies burned the mosques that stand in Israel, what response would happen? I'm not sure this picture tells the whole story. In the pictures I've seen, these synagogues are being destroyed.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 3 months ago

remember, they celebrated on 9-11=01!
some celebrated the katrina disaster. this is still a terrorist society.

may israel's fence be built quickly!

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