Why Egypt Helps Maintain the Gaza Blockade

(Christian Science Monitor) Kristen Chick - While Gazans have lambasted Israel for the blockade, often overlooked is the role of Egypt, which has also kept its border with Gaza largely closed. Egypt doesn't want to take the pressure off Israel, which it holds responsible for running Gaza. At the same time, Egypt has an interest in weakening Hamas, which rules the territory. Emad Gad, an analyst at Cairo's government-funded Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, notes: "Hamas is part of another coalition in the region - the Iran, Syria, Hizbullah coalition...[and] is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood." Under these circumstances, he says, Egypt has little reason to end the blockade. Egypt also considers Hamas' takeover of Gaza illegal, and says it cannot open the border to regular traffic without the return of Palestinian Authority (PA) officials and European monitors who operated the crossing before the Hamas takeover. By refusing to sign a reconciliation deal that would allow the PA back into Gaza - despite months of Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation talks - Hamas is also responsible for the border closure, says Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki.

2010-04-06 11:05:15

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