Egypt and a sad day for Palestine

Egypt and a sad day for Palestine
Comment: Egypt's decision to brand the Qassam Brigades as a terrorist organisation is disastrous news for the Palestinian cause.
4 min read
06 Feb, 2015
Al-Qassam Brigades are Hamas' military wing [Anadolu]
Saturday, January 31, 2015 will go down in history as a day of sorrow for the Palestinian cause and the struggle to establish a free, independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

A decision by the Court of Urgent Matters in Cairo to designate the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, a terrorist organisation is nothing short of disastrous for the Palestinian cause.

Egypt now considers Palestinians as terrorists who should be fought, and considers Israelis as friends and that there should be greater cooperation between the two countries.

The court says that it based its ruling on the alleged involvement of the Qassam Brigades in attacks deep inside Egyptian territory. It is claimed that Gazan fighters used the tunnels that run along the border with Sinai to smuggle weapons into Egypt. These, the court says, were used in attacks on the police and the army, with the goal of destabilising Egypt.

Anyone who has followed this story closely, from the first day in court to when the judgment was made, will ascertain that there is no real evidence whatsoever proving Hamas's involvement in bloodshed in Egypt.

Indeed, the issue is nothing more than posturing and rhetoric, and hiding behind it is a huge ideological grudge and a desire to create an enemy where there are none.

Ever since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became president of Egypt, there has been a profound shift in the plans and political strategies of Egyptian authorities. The sharp internal polarisation in Egyptian society has encouraged the current leadership to look for a strong foreign backer that can guarantee the survival of the regime.

This is something that is impossible to achieve without enlisting itself in the agendas of the US and Israel.

This agenda requires squeezing every movement that engages in resistance against the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and those who refuse to recognise the state. The current Egyptian regime seems to have accepted this mission willingly, believing that eliminating the Muslim Brotherhood, which is still resisting fiercely and trying to return to power, requires planting further hatred among Egyptians against the group.

This includes fabricating falsehoods that Hamas is an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood.

     It was clear that the Egyptian regime used the Palestinian issue as a weapon in the battle for power at home.

In late October 2014, a suicide attack in North Sinai killed 33 Egyptian soldiers. At the time, Egyptian media directly accused Hamas of being behind the attack, naming two leaders from the Qassam Brigades as being the masterminds of the plot.

However, it turned out shortly afterwards that the two men, named as Mohammed Abu Shamala and Raed al-Attar, had been killed by Israel two months earlier during the Israeli assault on Gaza in August 2014.

It was clear that the Egyptian regime used the Palestinian issue as a weapon in the battle for power at home, which has raged since the army staged a coup against the elected president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013.

This was evident from the Egyptian authorities' move to destroy tunnels between Gaza and Sinai. It did not matter to the regime that they are the only lifeline for the people of Gaza to food, medicine and building materials.

Furthermore, the regime continues to keep the Rafah crossing closed to civilians, Gaza's porthole to the world, and so Egypt and Israel work together on the siege.

The regime did not stop there, they also established a buffer zone along the Egyptian border with Gaza. The media was given free rein to attack the Palestinian resistance. Some media outlets even called on the Egyptian people to kill anyone belonging to Hamas on Egyptian soil.

To top it all, Egypt has now involved its justice system in this political game, by seeking strange and shameful rulings of its opponents.

Egypt has fought many wars against Israel for Palestine's sake. No one can deny its historical role in supporting the Palestinian struggle. This is reason to have some hope: Perhaps the Egyptian regime will realise the extent of the sin it is committing against the people of Palestine one day. The Palestinians only want to live in peace in a free and independent country, like other people in the world.

No one is asking Egypt to fight Israel. All we want is for its regime to stop its participation in the blockade of Gaza by opening Rafah, and to stop inciting the media against the Palestinian resistance.

Egypt must then call for a new round of negotiations between Israel and Palestine, after it stopped them without stating any reason. This gave Israel the opportunity to disrupt all efforts that were meant to improve living conditions in Gaza.

Finally, Egypt needs to stop using its judiciary to implicate the Palestinian resistance in accusations of terrorism.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.