Tag Archives: Rafah crossing

Egypt Tired Of Gaza, Israel, Hamas, and The World..

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.

Egypt Refuses To Open Gaza Crossings

President Hosni Mubarak told the Egyptian people in a televised address that the Rafah border crossing will remain closed until Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas regains control of Gaza. “We in Egypt are not going to contribute to perpetuating the rift (between Hamas and Fatah) by opening the Rafah crossing in the absence of the Palestinian Authority and EU observers in violation of the 2005 deal.” Egypt has been severely criticized across the Arab world for denying Palestinians the right to cross over into Egypt to escape Israel bombing. In Yemen, protestors stormed the Egyptian consulate the destroyed property and demanded action to protect the people of Gaza.

There are reports of protests by Egyptian students against Mubarak’s refusal to open the crossing and end diplomatic relations with Israel. Mubarak is a realist and knows allowing Hamas to gain further power will lead to an explosion of violence that might suck in Egypt and result in war with Israel. He most probably is disgusted with the actions of Hamas in refusing to halt rocket attacks in order to attain peace in the area. For him, Hamas is the region’s worst nightmare since it represents the forces which seek war and destruction.

Egypt Will Keep Control Over Gaza Crossings

Arab opponents of Israel constantly complain Gaza crossings are blocked by the IDF even though an important crossing at Rafah is under Egyptian control. Dina Ezzat, writing in Al Ahram, was told by Egyptian officials there is “no way that Palestinians” will be allowed to break the border security and be allowed to leave Gaza. He indicated the Egyptian government blames Hamas for many problems and believes it is more interested in maintaining control in Gaza than anything else. The official told her Egyptian security forces at Rafah are on high alert and will not allow any Gazans to leave except for a biweekly allowance for humanitarian reasons or for students with overseas visas.

Hamas believes Egypt seeks to support President Abbas and their actions at Gaza are to make certain Fatah comes out as the real power among Palestinians. Hamas blames the unmasked Egyptian support for Fatah as the real source of being unable to deal with Gaza.

Gazans have resorted to sit-ins near the Rafah crossing in order to persuade Egypt to open it up, but the last thing Egypt wants is for Israel to blockade its crossing and dump the entire mess of Gaza into the lap of the Egyptians.