News / Middle East

Gaza-Egypt Border Opens as Muslim Brotherhood Shifts Tactics

Palestinians wait to cross into Egypt at Rafah crossing between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 24, 2013.
Palestinians wait to cross into Egypt at Rafah crossing between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 24, 2013.
Heather Murdock
The Egyptian government is reopening its border with Gaza Saturday for the first time in five days.  Some activists say the move is a sign that the crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood is successfully quieting opposition to the military-led government.  Muslim Brotherhood supporters, however, say the struggle is just beginning, and that they are planning new rallies Saturday night. 

The border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip is one of the only ways Palestinians in Gaza can access the outside world.

For days, thousands have been waiting to enter Egypt - for school, or to go the hospital - and hundreds more are reported to be waiting to get back to Gaza to go home.
 
However, it’s no great surprise that Egypt’s military-led interim government is keeping a tight watch on the crossing.  Gaza’s 1.7 million people are governed by Hamas, an ally of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, which wants the Egyptian military to step aside and reinstate Morsi.
 
Some analysts say the fact that the border has reopened, even if just for limited hours, could be a sign that tensions are easing after this month's military crackdown on Islamist protests and mass arrests of the Brotherhood leadership.  

“The Muslim Brothers, they are not going to give up easily, but they lost their sympathy on the streets, so their only way is to cause problems,” said award-winning artist and long-time political activist Mohammad Ablaa.
 
The Brotherhood, he added, had its chance to rule under Morsi, but failed to work with government agencies and promote the democracy it promised. Although the Brotherhood says it was the specific target of the government crackdown, Ablaa said the extreme bloodshed that resulted from the fighting - estimates of the carnage range from hundreds to more a thousand dead - has damaged the Brotherhood’s appeal.
 
After days of silence, Brotherhood rallies across Cairo Friday that called for Morsi's reinstatement were marked by new tactics to avoid violence and attract new supporters.
 
At this demonstration in southern Cairo, before the military-imposed 7 p.m. curfew took effect, thousands held signs and chanted as they marched through residential neighborhoods.  When leaders sensed trouble, they steered crowds in another direction.
 
A media representative of the National Committee for Legitimacy, an organization that works with the Muslim Brotherhood to stage protests, text-messaged reporters Saturday to explain the new strategy.  The plan is to hold more rallies in smaller groups, in the hope of attracting “a broad spectrum of Egyptian revolutionaries from all the diff[erent] factions.”
 
The media representative, who asked to remain anonymous, said in an earlier interview that if all Islamist protests are suppressed, he would consider that all political activism in Egypt is under attack. This, he added, would return the country to the repression Egyptians suffered under Hosni Mubarak.
 
“I am convinced 100 percent that the liberals who are not on the streets, [who] think they are safe, they are not safe," he said. "Once [the military is finished with Islamists, they will turn [on] them.  Anyone who was an activist before will pay.”

In the final days of the 2011 uprising that forced Mubarak out of office, activists in Tahrir Square said they could not give up, even if they wanted to at the time, because if the protests failed, everyone faced likely arrest. Many Egyptians who took an active part in the revolution that ousted Mubarak say they now realize Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were never fit to lead the nation.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JohnWV from: USA
August 24, 2013 1:11 PM
Besieged Palestinian Gaza is an experiment in provocation. Stuff one and a half million people into a tiny space, stifle their access to water, electricity, food and medical treatment, destroy their livelihoods, and humiliate them regularly...and, surprise, surprise - they turn hostile. Now why would you want to make that experiment? Because the hostility you provoke is the whole point. Now under attack you can cast yourself as the victim, and call out the helicopter gunships and the F16 attack fighters and the heavy tanks and the guided missiles, and destroy yet more of the pathetic remains of infrastructure that the Palestinian state still has left. And then you can point to it as a hopeless case, unfit to govern itself, a terrorist state, a state with which you couldn't possibly reach an accommodation. And then you can carry on with business as usual, quietly stealing their homeland.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid