This article is a continuation of the writer’s well-documented position in support of the steps taken by the Egyptian Military Forces since July 3, 2013. By its intervention in support of the Egyptian people’s uprising during the days and weeks leading to June 30, 2013 against the Muslim Brotherhood rule, the Egyptian Armed Forces saved Egypt – and therefore the entire Arab Nation – from decades, if not centuries, of civil wars that would pulled the Arab Nation apart and would have prevented its advancement towards joining the rest of humanity in the eternal search for a more civilized and prosperous life for all of humanity on this planet Earth.
That act by the Egyptian Military Forces, however, is not at all perfect. Many shortcomings can be cited, many actions can be improved upon, and many others are outright wrong! One such action is the prolonged closure of the Rafah Border Crossing on the North-Eastern borders of Egypt with the Palestinian Gaza Strip. This border crossing has been so vital to Palestinian lives in the Gaza Strip that under any and all circumstances, it has served as Gaza’s line to life itself. The prolonged closure of Rafah Border Crossing cannot be morally or ethically explained or justified. This closure is rendering Gaza and the Palestinian people therein to be vulnerable to the well-known Israeli brutality; for without Rafah Border Crossing, Palestinians in Gaza have no breathing space except through other crossings under 100% control of the Israeli military. The sea, sky, and land are all under air-tight control by the state of Israel, except that little crossing of a few meters that Egyptian soldiers are now guarding against approach by any Palestinian from either side; students, merchants, sick, elderly, or anything alive except for possibly insects and cockroaches.
The excuse that Egypt fears the penetration of its territory by some “terrorist groups” from Gaza can no longer be sufficient to explain or justify this prolonged closure of the only lifeline to Gaza from Egypt. The claim that Hamas’ presence in Gaza is forcing Egypt to close the crossing is no longer acceptable, and those of us who support the Egyptian Military Forces and have historically and consistently defended actions by the Egyptian governments in their dealings with the Palestinian cause are running out of arguments to offer and are losing patience and calm in accepting the current Egyptian government’s decision that is only resulting in strengthening Israeli strangulation of the Palestinians’ throats (almost literally). This prolonged closure is only serving the purpose of the Israeli military for punishing the Palestinian people. The excuse of applying pressure on Hamas to surrender control over Gaza in favour of the Palestinian National Authority that is controlled by Fatah is void of substance.
The Egyptian government has always benefited from its world-class intelligence and information gathering institutions. Any keen observer of the powers that be in the Middle East can tell you that Egyptian intelligence are second to none when it comes to knowing those who intend to harm Egypt, including each and every person in Gaza who might cause any significant harm to Egypt. The Egyptian military intelligence knows who is who in Gaza; from publicly known leaders of political parties down to local gang-leaders of inner city dwellers that are not known to most Palestinians.
All this is to say that no one single sane person can claim that Egypt cannot open the Rafah Border Crossing and filter those undesirable elements from entering (or leaving) Egypt with maximum efficiency. The risks of undesirable elements entering Egypt from the Rafah Border Crossing are minute in comparison with the risks of those elements entering Egypt from the unlimited points of entry to Egypt – both government-controlled and otherwise – around the Egyptian borders to the east, north, west and south; without exception. In the meantime, not a single sane person can claim that this prolonged closure serves the purpose of pressuring Hamas to be more flexible in its negotiations with Fatah for a Palestinian reconciliation. The pressure is being applied on ordinary Palestinians, who carry 100% of the burden of the Rafah Border Crossing closure on their own. Those who believe that Hamas would change its positions as a result of the Palestinian people suffering neither know Hamas nor how its decision-making mechanisms are formulated. That is to say no volume of people’s suffering would change a decision by Hamas; no matter how insignificant such a decision might be. People’s suffering does not get into the formula of decision-making for a political party that considers martyrdom to be the ultimate reward for everyone it purports to defend.
With all the above in mind, and with all the love and admiration towards Egypt and the Egyptian people, and with the deeply-rooted belief that Egypt remains the strongest hope for all Arabs – especially Palestinians – towards a better future, we call on Egypt (in the person of its President Abdul-Fattah El-Sisi) to immediately and unconditionally open the Rafah Border Crossing for all travel and trade in both directions, and to do so while applying the maximum and uncompromising controls possible in order to secure Egypt, its people, and its territory and save it harmless from any threat whatsoever.
Hope is the stuff from which life is made!