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Mordechai Kedar: Terror on the Border – Who is the True Victim?

Aftermath of the Sinai terror attack

Photo Credit: Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90

The situation in Gaza in recent months, especially since the Muslim Brotherhood won the parliamentary elections and the presidency in Egypt, has vastly improved compared to the past, because the Rafah Crossing is almost totally open, goods enter the area freely and people come and go into and out of Egypt almost without limitation. The blockade on the Gaza Strip – in which Egypt took an integral part – has been almost totally dismantled, and with it also the sense of distress that has burdened the people of Gaza ever since Hamas took over the Strip in June of 2007.

The Egyptian military holds the Hamas government responsible for the part that the people of Gaza took in the action, because in its view – Hamas is capable of imposing discipline upon those under its control and is obligated to do so. Therefore the people of Gaza fear that the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, and especially President Mursi, will have no choice but to surrender to the will of the Egyptian military which wants to renew the blockade on Gaza, whether as an act of self-defense on the part of Egypt and its soldiers, or in retaliation for Hamas’s responsibility in the killing of Egyptian soldiers.

Dr. Mustafa Yusuf al-Lidawi expresses the fear of the Gazans in a most concrete way in his article entitled “Darkness encompasses the Gaza Strip”, with the following words (my comments are in parenthesis – M.K.):

“It was with great sadness and intense sorrow that the residents of Gaza received the news about the accursed attack on the Egyptian soldiers on the Egyptian-Israeli border [not the border of Gaza and Israel]. They were struck speechless, their tongues adhered to their palates, their breath was stopped and on their Ramadan night [when they are supposed to rejoice] they were confounded … whatever harmed the Egyptian people, its sons and the guardians of the homeland also harmed the entire Palestinian people [Hamas too] because the event is terrible, the damage is tremendous, the losses incalculable, the damage extensive and the results were far worse than could have been imagined. Sorrow has engulfed every home and worry consumes every heart… Everyone wonders who could have carried out such a terrible slaughter such as this; those who did this ignored the sanctity of Ramadan, and the holiness of Muslim blood, as the soldiers sat down to break the fast with an entreaty to the Master of the World to accept their prayer, guard the homeland and return them to their homes in peace.

Nothing can justify the attack. Its perpetrators are murderers, criminals, corrupt and defiling, conspirators and traitors, misguided and deceiving, enemies and hate-mongers, foolish and stupid, their only desire is to destroy, their goal is to corrupt and their aim is to harm the interests of the people [the Egyptians? the Palestinians?] and the nation [the Arab? the Islamic?]. They are not Muslims and are not believers, they are not rebels for a noble cause and are not nationalists. They are also not Palestinians because he who kills his brothers is not Muslim, and he who attacks his own people is not a believer. Whoever causes distress to his people [by causing the closing of Rafah], who besieges his own family and acts to deny them light, food, medicine and all of the necessities of life is not Muslim, and whoever acts against the interests of his people, and serves the goals of its enemy and achieves that which the occupation has not succeeded in achieving, is not Palestinian…

Egypt today is grieving, wounded, weeping, bereaved and sighing, it has declared mourning on its faithful members and is determined to capture the murderers and do to them what they deserve… Palestine in general and Gaza in particular are no less downcast than Egypt, and not less shocked. Our warm tears flow continuously, our sighs are deep and our wounds are bleeding. We console the Egyptian people… and say to them: do not punish an entire people for what a small contemptible group has done, whether they are Palestinian or Egyptian, there is no difference. The group is not Palestinian even if some of the members are Palestinians, because they do not represent the Palestinians… do not allow the magnitude of the crime to cause you to punish the residents of the Gaza Strip, to close its only point of access to the world and to cut its arteries of life that come from Egypt. Do not prevent the people of Gaza to travel to the Haj in Mecca, and do not prevent the sons of Gaza from coming to Egypt, their homeland. Do not restrict entry of food to the people of Gaza [which arrives by way of Egyptian ports] because we are saddened just as you are, more angry than you and more determined than you are to take revenge on the murderers. We ask you to rise above the event, not to punish us collectively and not to deny from a whole people the sources of livelihood. Please open quickly the gates of the Strip and do not close them; prevent the return of the residents’ suffering as it was in the past… because they love you and wish for you only the best, they do not accept any harm that may befall you and will not be silent about those who attacked you and harmed you. The sons of Gaza will pursue anyone who is proven to be guilty and will settle accounts with anyone whose crime is revealed. They will not cover up crime and will not support exploitation and aggression.

About the Author: Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.


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