Why Egypt Is Concerned about the Hamas "Return" Campaign in Gaza

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Yoni Ben Menachem - Egypt is anxious about Hamas' "Return" campaign in Gaza. The Egyptian government still remembers very well what happened in January 2008, when armed Hamas activists broke through the border fence between Gaza and Egypt, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza flowed into Sinai. Egyptian police were compelled to use water cannons and clubs to restrain the Palestinian masses charging the border and 40 Egyptian security officers were injured. The attack was a Hamas initiative to compel Egypt to open the Rafiah crossing on a regular basis. Egypt is concerned that this scenario may be repeated and would find it difficult to stop such a mass event. The Egyptian political echelon would likely not order the army to open fire on the Gazan crowds. However, the Egyptian army is concerned that a breach of the border fence between Gaza and Sinai will enable terrorists from the Gaza Salafist groups and weaponry to infiltrate into Sinai to assist ISIS. Breaching the Gaza-Sinai border fence could also affect Israel, enabling terrorists from Sinai to reach Gaza with large quantities of game-changing weaponry, such as advanced anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, and carry out terror attacks against Israel from there.

2018-04-13 00:00:00

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