- European Union Border Assistance Mission Rafah
The European Union Border Assistance Mission Rafah (EU BAM Rafah) is, after the EU Police Mission for the
Gaza Strip(EU COPPS), the EU's second Civilian Crisis Management Mission in the Gaza Strip. It is situated at the Rafah Border Crossingon the Palestinian- Egyptian border. The mission consists of roughly 70 personnel including a special security team.
Since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, EU BAM is unable to man the facility as the EU considers Hamas to be a terrorist organisation, as well as because the November 2005 agreement on movement and access specified that the terminal was to be manned by the
Fatah-aligned Force 17. EU BAM is currently based in Ashkelon, Israel. [cite news|url=http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1182951031929&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull |title=EU monitors to stay away from Rafah |author=Herb Keinon |date=28 June 2007]
The Rafah Crossing Point (RCP) is vitally important to the Gaza economy and the viability of any future independent
Palestinian state, since it is the Gaza Strip's only border crossing with a country other than Israel. Furthermore, after the withdrawal of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from the Gaza Strip and the subsequent closure of the RCP, trade relations with neighboring Egypt were inhibited. Given Israeli security-related concerns about handing over control of the RCP to the Palestinian Authority (possible weapons transfers and uninhibited return of exiled extremist leaders and terrorists), EU BAM Rafah's stated aim is to provide a third party presence in the Rafah Crossing Point in order to, in cooperation with the European Commission's institution building efforts, contribute to the opening of the Rafah Crossing Point and to build up confidence between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Furthermore, the broader political objective is to support the Road Map peace initiative through confidence-building and increasing Palestinian capacity in all aspects of border control. Effective border management will facilitate the movement of goods and persons in and out of the Gaza Strip, thus improving the living conditions of the Palestinians and enhancing the prospects of viability of a Palestinian State, while contributing to the security of Israel.
Its role is to:
# actively monitor, verify and evaluate the PA's performance with regard to the implementation of the Framework, Security and Customs Agreements concluded between the parties on the operation of the Rafah terminal;
# contribute, through mentoring, to building up the Palestinian capacity in all aspects of border management at Rafah.
# contribute to the liaison between the Palestinian, Israeli and Egyptian authorities in all aspects regarding the management of the Rafah Crossing Point.
* [http://www.eubam-rafah.eu EU BAM Rafah] official website
* [http://www.consilium.europa.eu/cms3_fo/showPage.asp?id=979&lang=EN&mode=g EU BAM Rafah] at the
Council of the European Unionwebsite
* [http://ec.europa.eu/comm/external_relations/mepp/index.htm The EU & the Middle East Peace Process] at the [http://ec.europa.eu/index_en.htm European Commission] website
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