Friday, September 20, 2013

Egypt's stingy "humanitarianism"

When Mohamed Morsi became Egyptian president in June 2012 many expected his regime to solidarize with Palestinians against Israeli apartheid. It was hoped he would ease Egyptian border restrictions on Gaza to alleviate the hardships of Israel’s blockade which has a stranglehold on Gazans. Instead, after an initial relaxation of border controls, Morsi continued Mubarak’s policy of collaboration with Israel. Of particular importance were the tunnels between Gaza & Egypt, a commercial lifeline where tons of medical & food supplies, rebuilding supplies, & fuel are smuggled into Gaza. Under Morsi’s regime, the Egyptian military went on a rampage to flood the underground tunnels with sewage water & make them inoperable.

When Morsi was ousted in early July, the military regime accelerated their campaign by closing the Rafah crossing where thousands pass back & forth between Gaza & Egypt for study, travel, business, & medical treatment & by continuing to flood the tunnels. There is no significant distinction between the policies of Mubarak, Morsi, & the Egyptian military because they were/are all beholden to the same political & economic forces ruling Egypt & all bankrolled by the US Pentagon. Even the most conservative human rights groups denounce Israel’s blockade of Gaza as barbarism; the most straight-forward call it ethnic cleansing. The Egyptian government is party to this.

Under pressure & certainly not motivated by humanitarian concerns, Egypt’s military regime agreed to open the Rafah crossing on Wednesday & Thursday four stingy hours a day for patients seeking medicare care in Egypt & for students studying in Egypt. This largesse will reportedly allow passage for about 400 people when there are thousands stranded on both sides of the crossing.

This is a photo from yesterday of Palestinians waiting to cross into Egypt. Solidarity with the right of free passage for Palestinians can be expressed by boycotting all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729), supporting the cultural boycott of Israel, & demanding “No US aid to Israel,” “No US aid to Egypt.”

(Photo by Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

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