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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid