Last week, there was a stampede at the Rafah border crossing, by Palestinians who wanted to enter Egypt, and didn't know when they might be able to do so again if they missed this opportunity:
Citing security threats, Israel allows the Rafah crossing - Gaza's only gateway to the outside world - to operate only sporadically, leading to massive crowds on the rare occasions it opens. Some 5,000 people showed up ahead of its opening Thursday, many sleeping there overnight....
If I were the Israeli government spokesperson, asked to comment on the situation, the first thing I would do would be to check what has already been openly published about Israel's policy on allowing the crossing to operate, just so I wouldn't say anything to embarrass myself. For instance, I wouldn't want to claim that it is security considerations that have led Israel to keep the Rafah crossing shut for 80 per cent of the time since one of its soldiers was captured by Hamas last June...
...I believe that if we could contain the security threat through effective communication, the Rafah crossing could be open all the time,'' Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said...
... only to find out later that the Israeli press has already published Defence Ministry documents leaked to them last August, showing that the "security threat" rationale is a pretext, and that Israel is instead deliberately keeping the Gaza Strip blockaded as an act of collective punishment on the entire population in retaliation for the capture of an Israeli soldier last June:
The Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet recommended six days ago that Israel shut down the Rafah crossing to pressure the Palestinians to release kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
This was said during a Defense Ministry meeting whose transcripts Haaretz has acquired.
The document reveals for the first time that the IDF and the Shin Bet are calling for a closure on grounds other than intelligence on pending terrorist attacks.
The agreement governing the Rafah crossing, on the Gaza-Egypt border, was signed in November 2005 by Israeli officials, the Palestinian Authority, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the European Union's Javier Solana and the Quartet representative James Wolfensohn. According to the agreement, the Rafah crossing would be managed by Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and a third party - a team of EU observers.
In practice Israel closes the crossing at will, on the pretext of "intelligence of an imminent attack." This automatically prevents the European observers from reaching the crossing - which ensures that it remains closed.
However, in this document, the IDF's position is that the crossing "should be opened on occasion only after the kidnapped soldier is released and the shooting from the Gaza Strip stops. To use the crossing as a means of applying pressure."
The Shin Bet poses a similar but more blatant stance in this document: "We oppose the opening of the crossing, even for a few hours, so long as the matter of the abducted soldier remains unchanged. Pressure on this matter must remain in place at this stage."...
-- Israel using Rafah crossing to pressure PA on Shalit release; Ha'aretz, 30 Aug 2006.
And I wouldn't want to keep repeating the claim that the crossing has to be closed down because weapons are being smuggled through it:
...Israel says the crossing has been used to smuggle weapons as well.
... only to have someone point out to me later that, according to information received by the Jerusalem Post last November from a member of the Security Working Group (which oversees security at the crossing), Israeli security officials don't actually believe that:
High level Israeli, Palestinian, US and Egyptian officials met in Jerusalem on Tuesday for the first time in a year to discuss opening the Rafah Crossing on a full time basis, a senior western diplomatic official said Tuesday...
... The official said the discussions dealt only with the Rafah crossing, and not with the problem of arms smuggling in tunnels under the Philadelphi Corridor.
"That would be like the Jerusalem police discussing crime in Beit Shemesh," he said.
Although Israeli security officials are alarmed at the rate of arms smuggling into Gaza, they have expressed satisfaction recently that the explosives are not coming through the Rafah crossing.
Nevertheless, since Cpl. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped in June, the crossing - which was open pretty much full time since last December - has been open on an average of only twice a week.
-- Israel, Palestinian, Egyptian, US officials meet over Rafah; JPost, 15 Nov 2006.
Because if I did keep making those debunked claims, I would simply sound like a paid liar to all the people who actually do read newspapers, and remember what they've read. I'm sure I would consider it well worth the investment if I could avoid that outcome, just for the price of a daily newspaper.