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

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs