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Reopening Rafah, Arab Spring Token

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TEHRAN, May 31 (ICANA) – “I am grateful to the Egyptian people, the Egyptian revolution, and the Egyptian government, because they opened our way of communication with the outside world.”
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 9:35:11 PM
Reopening Rafah, Arab Spring Token

This was part of jubilant remarks by a Gaza Strip resident who, following the new decision of the Egyptian government, managed to cross the Rafah border crossing onto the Egyptian soil and free himself from a big prison.

The Egyptian new government seems unlikely to have encountered much hardship reopening Gaza's sole way of communication with the outside world.

Israel dispatched a representative to Cairo to prevent Egypt's military council from putting into practice the decision to reopen the border, but to no avail.

Israel's repeated objections also failed to overturn the will of Egyptians, and thus, the Rafah border crossing was opened after five years.

During this time, a large number of ill and old Palestinians as well as children and pregnant women lost their lives.

Based on a deal which was signed with the Palestinian Authority in the wake of Israel's retreat from the Gaza Strip, European observers monitored at close range, and the Israeli army at a distance, all the comings and goings across the Rafah border via closed-circuit cameras; and Israel was able to stop anyone from crossing.

After Palestinian resistance movement Hamas took over the administration of the enclave (in July 2007), the contract was quashed, and Hosni Mubarak ordered to keep the crossing closed.

Israel launched airstrikes on the Palestinian side of Rafah several times to obstruct the transfer of goods through tunnels that had been dug linking Palestine and Gaza.

The measure did not work, and, at Israel's suggestion and with the United States' financial support, the Egyptian government started to construct an 18-meter iron wall between the Egyptian and Palestinian sides of Rafah so that Israel was ensured that no Palestinian could exit Gaza and that 1.5 million Palestinians would remain inside this big prison until Hamas would surrender.

The United Nations and human rights organizations would often publish appalling reports on the health conditions, the medication shortage, and the malnutrition prevalent among Gazan children, as well as on the increasing number of the unemployed in the enclave, but the least heed was paid to them.

Israel managed to turn the Gazan crisis into oblivion. US President Barack Obama's administration, that had once declared that the siege on Gaza was intolerable, practically took no measures to end it. Worse of all were the standpoints of European governments that would, on the one hand, call for the betterment of conditions in Gaza, and on the other, sign military contracts with or offer loans or submarines to Israel.

There was no end to this crisis in sight, and even the Arab League had forgotten Gaza. All were subservient to the United States, which adjusted its policies in line with the standpoint of Israel in the Middle East.

What brought about change in this inhumane situation emerged from where the top intelligence officers of the US, Europe, and Israel did not have a clue about: Tunisia, where the first successful Arab revolution took place last year.

Before long, the Tunisian revolution spread to Egypt, and the transformations began.

Could anybody guess that the key to the liberation of the Gazans from the inhuman siege was in the hands of the Tunisians?

When Hosni Mubarak was on the verge of downfall, Israelis called him their strategic treasure, and urged the US to keep him in power through any means, along with governments of the “Arab axis of moderation” such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, as his downfall would ensue other regimes' collapse.

Everybody knew that change in Egypt would indicate change in the whole Arab world.

After the overthrow of Mubarak, Israelis and Americans ensured that the Camp David Accords would remain intact and that the Arab nations were simply seeking to overthrow domestic dictatorships. This kind of propaganda mostly served domestic consumption and aimed to soothe the worries of the Israelis.

This policy continues to be applied. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent visit to Washington had nothing to offer to resolve the issue of Palestine; and the US congressmen applauded him many times to pretend that transformations in the Middle East should not be taken seriously.

Had Hosni Mubarak still been in power and wanted to open the Rafah crossing, he would have certainly thought twice upon seeing the warm welcome by American senators given to the Israeli prime minister.

Egypt's new government simply made the decision and easily put it into practice. The recurrent objections of Israel interestingly fell on deaf ears this time. Neither did the European Union condemn the Egyptian government's decision, nor did the United States stand by Israel. Even, the expectations of Israeli statesmen to hear a voice of support from Micronesian islands were not met. Everybody was tired of the siege on Gaza and ... Israel was once again left alone. (Press TV)

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