Egypt has kept the Rafah crossing border point with the Gaza Strip opened for a fifth consecutive day
“We sailed to Gaza, broke through the siege…take a stand “says the slogan of the freedom flotilla that was headed towards Gaza. And that exactly what they did, they lived up to their pledge, they publicly sailed, bravely headed towards Gaza and confronted an immoral and armed Israeli commando raid in the dead of night in international waters.
The Free Gaza Movement organized the aid flotilla with the hope of sending a message to the world that Israel has no right to starve 1.5 million Palestinians by blockading the Gaza Strip.
That message was never heard clearer nor louder to the extent that revived the international community conscience as expressed in the following statement “Israel had no right to whatsoever to impede a humanitarian ship from trying to provide supplies to a population that’s facing, in the words of Amnesty International, a humanitarian crisis”
And even governments began to respond, to the fury and furor invoked by the ruthless Israeli raid on the freedom flotilla, but the most vital response, was the one that came from Egypt.
On Tuesday, Egypt suddenly decided to open Rafah terminal after the Israeli Navy seized the Gaza aid flotilla a day earlier. The opening was in part due to the pressure by Egyptians to end the three-year blockade imposed by Israel after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
Rafah is Gaza’s only gateway to the rest of the world that is not controlled by Israel. Egypt, which has a 30-year peace treaty with Israel, has kept the Rafah border closed for much of the past five years
The Egypt-Israel blockade was tightened following the 2006 parliamentary election victory of Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt’s largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, and even more so after Hamas’ complete takeover of the Strip in 2007.
EGYPT has undercut Israel by breaking its three-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, as the international community heightened condemnation of Israel over its attack on the Gaza aid flotilla.
While ordinary Gazans have taken advantage of the border opening, it is not yet clear whether all goods will be allowed into Gaza from Egypt.
Egyptian officials have been quoted as saying there would be no restrictions on the movement of Palestinians nor on food, medical and humanitarian supplies being brought in.
However, reports suggest that concrete and steel, which Gazans desperately need to repair damage from last year’s Israeli offensive in the Strip, would still need to be transported through Israel, which restricts supplies of building materials as it says they could be used for military purposes.
Gazans have been streaming through the Rafah border with Egypt over the past four days, breaking through the inhumane Israeli siege, and fulfilling the pledge of the free Gaza movement that gave the world one of its finest chapters of human solidarity.
Ashraf Ezzat is an Egyptian born in Cairo and based in Alexandria. He graduated from the faculty of Medicine at Alexandria University.
Keen not to be entirely consumed by the medical profession, Dr. Ezzat invests a lot of his time in research and writing. History of the ancient Near East and of Ancient Egypt has long been an area of special interest to him.
In his writings, he approaches ancient history not as some tales from the remote times but as a causative factor in our existing life; and to him, it’s as relevant and vibrant as the current moment.
In his research and writings, Dr. Ezzat is always on a quest trying to find out why the ancient wisdom had been obstructed and ancient spirituality diminished whereas the Judeo-Christian teachings and faith took hold and prospered.
Dr. Ezzat has written extensively in Arabic tackling many issues and topics in the field of Egyptology and comparative religion. He is the author of Egypt knew no Pharaohs nor Israelites.
In 2013 his short The Pyramids: story of creation was screened at many international film festivals in Europe. And he is working now on his first documentary “Egypt knew no Pharaohs nor Israelites”.