Divergent media reports on opening of Egypt-Gaza border

25 Jul

 

by Grant Morgan

Auckland, New Zealand

25 July 2012

Mainstream media outlets are carrying tentative and contradictory stories on whether or not Egyptian border officials have been instructed to allow the free passage of Palestinians living in Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem.

This reflects the intense war being waged within the power structures of the Egyptian state between the military junta, long complicit in Israel’s siege of Gaza, and newly elected president Mohamed Morsi.

Despite the one step back for every two steps forward since last year’s revolutionary ouster of the dictator Hosni Mubarak, the general direction has to date been positive for the grassroots of Egypt and Gaza.

Going by the history of the past year-and-a-half, we can expect a continuation of one step back for every two steps forward until the power of the military junta has been whittled away. 

If, however, the military junta deposes Morsi from the presidency, the gates could well swing shut on Gaza, at least until the generals are again forced backwards by the momentum of the Arab Spring inside Egypt and across North Africa, the Levant and the Middle East.

No matter how much the state of Israel and Egypt’s military junta wish to turn the clock back, their reactionary plans are being relentlessly buffeted by strong winds of democracy blowing from the Arab Spring.

In terms of regional dominance, the Zionists have passed their peak and are on the downwards slide as they run out of allies, options and legitimacy.

So the real question appears to be when, not if, Egypt’s border with Gaza will be opened to the free passage of people and goods. 

Below are two examples of divergent media reports on the Gaza border issue.

 

This video from RT (Russian television), screened on 24 July 2012, describes how Cairo is opening Egypt’s border with Gaza:

Egypt is allowing Palestinians free entry to its territory in a landmark move ending part of a longtime blockade on Gaza. It was imposed by Israel with the help of Egypt five years ago, after Hamas took control of the Palestinian territory. But with a president from the Muslim Brotherhood now leading Egypt, the move is widely seen as a friendly gesture to Hamas, an offshoot of the Brotherhood which operates independently.

 

But the Daily News, Egypt’s only English-language daily paper, starts a report on 24 July 2012 by Hend Kortam with Cairo officials denying that any change in border regulations has taken place:

Multiple news reports on Monday that Egypt is allowing Palestinians entry into the country without restrictions are being denied by Cairo airport officials.

An airport security official told the Daily News Egypt that immigration officials had not changed their policy toward Palestinians. In a press release sent out to a number of Arab publications, airport authorities confirmed there had been no changes to immigration policies for Palestinians.

However, the tenor of most of the Daily News report tends to cast doubt on these two opening paragraphs:

Political analyst and university professor Fayek Fahim said the decision to lift the siege on Gaza, if taken, has three dimensions. “One for the Palestinians, one for the Israelis and a third for the Egyptians,” said Fahim.

“The move will represent the opening of another lung for Palestinians, which Israel will see as a possibility for them to get weapons. The Egyptians want to ease the Palestinians’ suffering. The lifting of the siege will be good news for Palestinians and it will be the natural development,” said Fahim.

These reports came only weeks after President Morsi took the oath of office. Fahim believes that if Egypt really decided to lift the siege, the decision would not be announced and would only become a matter of fact.

“It is not in Egypt’s best interest to announce the decision. It is preferable to keep the decision on low radar in order to avoid criticisms from the US, the first defender of Israel,” he added.

Fahim believes that there are issues that have to be taken into account should the Egyptian government decide to make such a decision. Chief among them, Fahim said, is whether Egypt will make a decision to “stop subservience to Israel,” which could lead to an escalation of tension between the two countries.

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