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.