During the past decades the Egyptian government has been trapped in a vise between the Israelis and Palestinians, particularly on the issue of Gaza. The only entry point into Gaza that is not under the control of Israel Rafah where Egyptian soldiers are in charge. They are under pressure from the Israeli government not to allow smuggling of goods into Gaza, and they are also under pressure from Hamas to allow the entry of goods into the troubled area. Suggestions have been made to allow foreign supervision of the crossing, but the Egyptian government “will not allow any foreign observers on its border” but neither will it give into Hamas demands for free movement. President Mubarak has scant interest or support for Hamas and its calls for a never ending war against Israel. “Resistance is not about slogans that belittle the blood of martyrs” recently noted the president.
However, there is also strong sentiment within Egypt for its government to lend support to the people of Gaza by allowing goods to enter. If Egypt takes such a step it will create tension with Israel. At present, the Egyptian government wants some peace and quiet. But, the surest way to achieve such an aim is allowing outside observers to assume some responsibilities for supervising the Rafah crossing.