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

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.