Studies show that US coverage is Israeli-centric. The main bureaus for CNN, Associated Press, Time, etc. are located in Israel and often staffed by Israelis. The son of the NY Times bureau chief is in the Israeli army;"pundit" Jeffrey Goldberg served in the IDF; Wolf Blitzer worked for AIPAC. Because the U.S. gives Israel over $8 million/day - more than to any other nation - we feel it is essential that we be fully informed on this region. Below are news reports to augment mainstream coverage.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tensions grow as Egypt restricts Gaza crossing

Ma'an -- Egypt opened its Rafah border with Gaza several hours later than scheduled Saturday, causing tension as hundreds of Palestinians waited to cross.

The director of the Palestinian side, Salameh Barakeh, said Egypt decided to allow travelers to enter on foot rather than buses.

The decision was difficult to implement due to the number of patients, elderly people and children who were traveling among others across the sole Egyptian exit from Gaza, Barakeh told reporters at a news conference.

The crossing will remain closed for the rest of the day, Barakeh said. He urged residents to follow up with the Ministry of the Interior in Gaza while both sides try to come to an agreement to end the crisis.

According to a security source in Egypt, the opening of the crossing was delayed for works which were to have been completed Friday.

Several buses queued at the Egyptian gate, and dozens of Palestinians tried to break through the crossing into Egypt, witnesses said.

Egyptian security officers lined up carrying clubs preparing to stop any border breach, onlookers told Ma'an.

Egypt reopened the Rafah crossing on May 28, allowing the free movement of Palestinians from Gaza for the first time in four years. The terminal is the only Gaza crossing which Israel does not control.

However, floods of travelers overwhelmed the crossing, and the situation escalated into a crisis within days as officials traded accusations over the responsibility for huge queues at the terminal.

Hamas officials were also angered by Egypt's publication of a blacklist, banning 5,000 Palestinians from traveling.

On Tuesday, Egyptian authorities met with Hamas officials and agreed to limit use of the crossing to 400 travelers per day.

Representative of Palestine in Cairo Mohammad Arafat said Wednesday that Egypt was under intense pressure from Israel and the US to close the border. He said Egypt was reviewing the names of those blacklisted from travel.

Some Palestinians on the blacklist said they would appeal to Egyptian courts. They said the decision was based on inaccurate information received by the former Egyptian state security.

The decision to permanently reopen Rafah came more than three months after deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak resigned under pressure following 18 days of massive street protests against his rule.

Israeli ministers slammed the reopening of the border, warning that terrorist groups would be able to move weapons and people freely through the crossing.

The border has remained largely shut since June 2006 when Israel imposed a tight blockade on Gaza after militants snatched Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who is still being held.

The siege was tightened a year later when Hamas seized control of the territory, ousting forces loyal to the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

The United Nations has called the blockade illegal and repeatedly demanded it be lifted.