Skip to content

Post-Mubarak Egypt turns attention to Gaza siege

Egypt's Rafah Border Crossing

CAIRO, Apr 11, 2011 (IPS) – Two months since the ouster of longstanding president Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s new transitional government is turning its attention to unpopular Mubarak-era foreign policies – with the ongoing Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip top of the list.

“There are strong indications that Egypt’s approach to the Gaza Strip will change as Egyptian foreign policy increasingly comes into line with popular opinion following the January 25 Revolution,” Tarek Fahmi, political science professor at Cairo University, told IPS.

In 2006, Israel sealed its border with the Gaza Strip after resistance movement Hamas swept democratically-held Palestinian legislative elections. One year later, after Hamas seized control of the coastal enclave from the U.S.-backed Fatah movement, Egypt closed the Rafah terminal – the only crossing along its 14-kilometere border with the strip – to human and commercial traffic.

The blockade, now entering its fifth year, has hermetically sealed the territory off from the rest of the world, depriving the strip’s roughly 1.8 million inhabitants of many basic commodities and humanitarian supplies. The strip is also subject to frequent Israeli attack: within the past four days alone, 19 Gazans have been killed by Israeli airstrikes and artillery barrages.

Following Egypt’s recent revolution, the Rafah crossing was opened up to Palestinian students, medical patients and expatriates. However, construction materials – especially cement – remain banned from being taken to the territory from either Israel or Egypt.

Ever since Israel’s devastating three-week-long assault on the territory in 2008/2009, the Gaza Strip has remained in dire need of reconstruction. Along with killing more than 1,400 Palestinians, the assault completely or partially destroyed tens of thousands of homes, the vast majority of which have yet to be rebuilt.

“We’re not looking for charity or handouts,” Kanan Said Obaid, chairman of Gaza’s Association of Engineers, told IPS. “We want cement with which to rebuild destroyed homes and infrastructure.”

Under Mubarak, Egypt’s foreign ministry justified its position by referring to a 2005 U.S.-sponsored security pact between Israel and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. According to that agreement, the Rafah crossing could not be reopened until a contingent of EU “observers” – who had quit the border following Hamas’s takeover – returned to their posts.

But since Mubarak’s Feb. 11 ouster, after which Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) assumed executive authority over the nation’s affairs, there have been signs that Egypt’s Gaza policy – which remains enormously unpopular among vast swathes of the Egyptian public – now stands on the verge of change.

“It is unbecoming of Egypt that its foreign policy be characterised by…grave violations of the basic rules of international law, as is the case with Egypt’s stance on the siege of the Gaza Strip,” Nabil al-Arabi, Egypt’s new, SCAF- appointed foreign minister, wrote in the Feb. 19 edition of independent daily Al-Shorouk only days before his appointment.

The five-year-old blockade, Arabi conceded, “contravenes the rules of international humanitarian law,” which, he went on to note, “prohibits the siege of civilians – even in times of war.”

Notably, on Mar. 29, a foreign ministry spokesperson announced that Egypt was conducting “a review of the Rafah crossing to take all necessary action to achieve greater convenience and alleviate the suffering of Gaza residents.”

The ministry’s statements were put to the test late last month when a group of Egyptian activists attempted to enter the Gaza Strip via Rafah with ten tons of cement. Activists camped out at the crossing for a week awaiting permission to enter the territory, but authorisation from Cairo failed to materialise.

“Ultimately, we were barred by the Egyptian authorities from bringing the cement into Gaza,” 37-year-old activist Tamer Azzam told IPS. “This serves to confirm that Zionist, Mubarak-era policies vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip remain intact.”

According to Fahmi, who is also director of the Israel desk at the Cairo-based Centre for Middle East Studies, Egypt’s foreign ministry “is still in the process of studying means of reopening the Rafah crossing.” He went on to note, however, that “such major policy changes will take time.”

“Under Mubarak, Egyptian foreign policy was the polar opposite of public opinion,” Fahmi explained. “But in post-Mubarak Egypt, Cairo’s official position can be expected to gradually fall into line with the popular will, as the government is freed from the bureaucratic and ‘security’ constraints that had characterised the former regime due to the latter’s close relationship with the U.S. and Israel.”

He added: “And Gaza will be the litmus test of the new government’s ability or willingness to translate the will of the people into official policy.”

One indication of this gradual change, Fahmi noted, was that, following Mubarak’s departure, the Gaza file was officially transferred from the Egyptian intelligence services to the foreign ministry.

“This means that Gaza has gone from being a security issue, as it was under Mubarak, to a strictly political issue,” he said. “And as such, the Gaza file – if we are to institute true democracy – must eventually come to reflect the will of the Egyptian people, who overwhelmingly want to see the siege ended and the Rafah crossing opened.”

Egypt’s transitional government has also appeared more open to Hamas than was its predecessor. In late March, Hamas officials visited Cairo, where they held their first official meeting with members of the SCAF.

Following a closed-door meeting with Arabi, Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar told reporters that his Egyptian counterpart had informed him there would soon be a “shift in policy” vis-à-vis the Rafah border crossing. Al-Zahar went on to refer to “the new positive spirit and obvious change in policy” since Mubarak’s departure.

Under Mubarak, Egypt had adopted a tough stance towards Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (which had itself been outlawed under Mubarak). At the same time, Egypt had allied itself closely with Hamas’s West Bank-based rival, Fatah.

“The Mubarak regime took a hard line towards Hamas while being very friendly towards Fatah, a fellow client of the U.S.,” said Fahmi. “After the revolution, by contrast, Egypt can be expected to show much more even- handedness between the two Palestinian factions.”

Cairo is planning to receive Khaled Meshaal, head of Hamas’s Damascus- based political bureau. Meshaal last departed Cairo over a year ago, saying that neither he nor any other Hamas official would return to Egypt as long as Mubarak held the reigns of power.

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani

Post-Mubarak Egypt turns attention to Gaza siege

View the original article at Veterans Today

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in Middle East, Politics, War on terror.

Tagged with , , , , , .

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.

Support #altnews & keep Dark Politricks alive

Remember I told you over 5 years ago that they would be trying to shut down sites and YouTube channels that are not promoting the "Official" view. Well it's all happening now big time. Peoples Channels get no money from YouTube any more and Google is being fishy with their AdSense giving money for some clicks but not others. The time is here, it's not "Obama's Internet Cut Off Switch" it's "Trumps Sell Everyones Internet Dirty Laundry Garage Sale". This site must be on some list at GCHQ/NSA as my AdSense revenue which I rely on has gone down by a third. Either people are not helping out by visiting sponsors sanymore or I am being blackballed like many YouTube sites.

It's not just Google/YouTube defunding altenative chanels (mine was shut), but Facebook is also removing content, shutting pages, profiles and groups and removing funds from #altnews that way as well. I was recently kicked off FB and had a page "unpublished" with no reason given. If you don't know already all Facebooks Private Messages and Secret Groups are still analysed and checked for words related to drugs, sex, war etc against their own TOS. Personally I know there are undercover Irish police moving from group to group cloning peoples accounts and getting people booted. Worse than that I know some people in prison now for the content they had on their "secret private group". Use Telegrams secret chat mode to chat on, or if you prefer Wickr. If you really need to, buy a dumb phone with nothing for the NSA/GCHQ to hack into. Ensure it has no GPS tracking on it and that the battery can be removed. These are usually built for old people to get used to technology storing only a set of numbers to call. However they have no games, applications to install or other ways people can exploit the computer tracking device you carry round with you most of the day - your smart phone. If you are paranoid ensure that you can remove the battery when travelling around and do so to prevent GPS tracking or phone mast triangulation. Even with your phone in Flight mode or turned off, it can be turned on remotely and any features like front or back cameras, microphones and keylogging software can be installed to trace you.

So if your not supporting this site already which brings you news from the Left to the Right (really the same war mongering rubbish) then I could REALLY do with some..

Even if it's just £5 or tick the monthly subscription box and throw a few pound my way each month, it will be much appreciated. Read on to find out why.


Any support to keep this site would be appreciated. You could set up a monthly subscription for £2 like some people do or you could pay a one off donation as a gift.
I am not asking you to pay me for other people's articles, this is a clearing house as well as place to put my own views out into the world. I am asking for help to write more articles like my recent false flag gas attack to get WWIII started in Syria, and Trump away from Putin. Hopefully a few missiles won't mean a WikiLeaks release of that infamous video Trump apparently made in a Russian bedroom with Prostitutes. Also please note that this article was written just an hour after the papers came out, and I always come back and update them.

If you want to read JUST my own articles then use the top menu I have written hundreds of articles for this site and I host numerous amounts of material that has seen me the victim of hacks, DOS plus I have been kicked off multiple hosting companies, free blogging sites, and I have even had threats to cease and desist from the US armed forces. Therefore I have to pay for my own server which is NOT cheap. The more people who read these article on this site the more it costs me so some support would be much appreciated.

I have backups of removed reports shown, then taken down after pressure, that show collusion between nations and the media. I have the full redacted 28/29 pages from the 9.11 commission on the site which seems to have been forgotten about as we help Saudi Arabia bomb Yemeni kids hiding in the rubble with white phosphorus, an illegal weaapon. One that the Israeli's even used when they bombed the UN compound in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. We complain about Syrian troops (US Controlled ISIS) using chemical weapons to kill "beautiful babies". I suppose all those babies we kill in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria are just not beautiful enough for Trumps beautiful baby ratio. Plus we kill about 100 times as many as ISIS or the Syrian army have managed by a factor of about 1000 to 1.

I also have a backup of the FOX News series that looked into Israeli connections to 9.11. Obviously FOX removed that as soon as AIPAC, ADL and the rest of the Hasbra brigade protested.

I also have a copy of the the original Liberal Democrats Freedom Bill which was quickly and quietly removed from their site once they enacted and replaced with some watered down rubbish instead once they got into power. No change to police tactics, protesting or our unfair extradition treaty with the USA but we did get a stop to being clamped on private land instead of the mny great ideas in the original.

So ANY support to keep this site running would be much appreciated! I don't have much money after leaving my job and it is a choice between shutting the server or selling the domain or paying a lot of money just so I can show this material.

Material like the FSB Bombings that put Putin in power or the Google no 1 spot when you search for protecting yourself from UK Police with "how to give a no comment interview". If you see any adverts that interest you then please visit them as it helps me without you even needing to give me any money. A few clicks per visit is all it takes to help keep the servers running and tag any tweets with alternative news from the mainstream with the #altnews hashtag I created to keep it alive!

However if you don't want to use the very obvious and cost free ways (to you) to help the site and keep me writing for it then please consider making a small donation. Especially if you have a few quid sitting in your PayPal account doing nothing useful. Why not do a monthly subscription for less money instead. Will you really notice £5 a month?