Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1206, (17-23 July 2014)
Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Issue 1206, (17-23 July 2014)

Ahram Weekly


Al-Ahram Weekly

Gaza matters

For all the pitfalls of Hamas, Gaza is a lot bigger and more important to Egypt. So when Israel showers Gaza with bombs, killing its inhabitants and blowing up their homes and shops, threatening a land invasion on top of it, something needs to be done.

The international community can watch from afar, but we don’t have that luxury, for Gaza is too close to home. We may utter words of condemnation, send a bit of relief, say we are willing to mediate a ceasefire. But in the grand scheme of things, this is not enough.

And it is not what we are expected to do.

A major player in this region as we are, as we still promise to be, we cannot remain inactive. We cannot play the same old tunes, not when Israel is upping the ante, not when terrorists are on the lurk, not when Syria and Iraq are falling apart, not when Iran is going for broke, not when Lebanon and Jordan are hanging on for dear life and every moment counts.

Egypt is expected to act, and it has to come up with other tactics — a new vision. Our options are not silence or war. We have many other things to do, and from North Africa to the Gulf, nations and politicians are waiting for us to step in, give guidance, and take a stand.

This is what people expect from a regional leader such as Egypt. We may have our hands full at home, but Gaza is not far from home. Gaza, when it comes to our national security, is home.

Israel is sending us a message. When it bullies Gaza and threatens it with destruction, it is telling us something. When it halts talks with Mahmoud Abbas, it is telling us something.

What Israel is saying is that it is going to have its way. What Israel is saying is that if the Palestinians have any right at all, it is the right to die violently and in silence.

Israel wants to divide Gaza from the West Bank, obliterate the resistance, deny the Palestinian Diaspora the right to return, and Judaicise Jerusalem on top of it all.

When the map of this region is redrawn, as it is now, the Palestinians will be the biggest loser — this is what Israel is telling us.

This is what Israel is telling the whole world, and many countries — the Americans and the Europeans included — seem to have bought it.

Our policies may have been weak in the past, but we cannot afford inaction now, not when we claim to be resuming our position of leadership in the region, not when everyone wants us to stand up and be counted.

The region is in turmoil, and yet major powers are thinking of what they can gain out of this turmoil. America and Iran are talking about it. Turkey is biding its time, waiting to see how things turn out in Iraq. Everyone wants a chunk of this country or a contract in another, and Egypt must step into the game, or find itself at the receiving end of it all.

Those who want to subjugate the Palestinians, break up the Syrians and the Iraqis, and extend their tentacles across the old borders will turn their attention to us soon, unless we make our move first: unless we make it clear that we can give as good as we get.

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