Mahmoud Abbas OKs closure of Gaza border if done by Arabs

Egyptian authorities decided to close the Egyptian border to Gaza on Saturday, as terrorists with ties to Gaza the day before attacked military checkpoints in the Bedouin town of Sheikh Zuweid, killing at least 30 Egyptian soldiers. The Egyptian authorities believe that the terrorists arrived into Egypt from Gaza via a so-called terror tunnel, the Times of Israel reports. A few months ago, Hamas tried to dig into Israel through 32 similar terror tunnels. Now we see what devastating terror attacks just one such tunnel could result in. It is also obvious that Israel is not the only country that can be affected by terrorism from the Gaza Strip.

A three month state of emergency has been declared in the Sinai Peninsula by the Egyptian government and the closure of the border crossing with Gaza will last for an indefinite period of time. It also seems to be a total closure. Not even exceptions to people who need medical care in Egypt will be granted. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was quick to come up with a statement on the very same day as the closure:

“We support all necessary measures to be taken by the Egyptian leadership in order to protect Egypt,” Abbas announces on his official Facebook page. Further, he explains that the Palestinian Authority “stands up for Egypt’s leadership, government and people, and supports all necessary measures to be taken by the Egyptian leadership to maintain security and stability in Egypt, and when it comes to the terrorism in Sinai, and in all Egyptian territories as it is benefitting the Palestinian cause and the Arab national security.”

Abbas also praised the Egyptian president for “his courageous ways to address terrorism.” So it was a completely different approach than when Israeli civilians were hit by rockets  raining down from  terrorist reigned Gaza for almost two months. At that time it was instead of supporting the Israeli blockade of Gaza important to end it in all forms according to Mahmoud Abbas, his Palestinian Authority and the PLO. To break the blockade the PLO declared was at that point “demands from all the Palestinian people, and they represent the goal that the Palestinian leadership has devoted all of its strength to to achieve.”

Consequently, when the Arabs defend themselves against terrorism from Gaza, it is legitimate according to the Palestinian Authority that the border with Gaza is closed, while the same authority considers it to be wrong if the Israelis close the border with Gaza and establish a blockade against the anti-Semitic terrorist regime in Gaza. This is a clear double standard. The fact that almost no Swedish newspapers write about the present closure of the Egyptian Gaza border, we can also assume is an expression of the same double standards. As long as it is not  Jews who are acting in self-defense against the Gaza terror (which in the media and in the anti-Israeli political discourse is distorted into something else) but Arabs, no critical voices will be heard from the pro-Palestinian direction. It is a fact that a large part of the pro-Palestinian activism worldwide and the Palestinian politics is powered by anti-Semitism.

About the Author
Tobias Petersson is a Swedish freelance writer who has focused on Israel and the MENA region. He came to Israel first in 2007 for a summer vacation and learned much. Soon after his return to Sweden he was suddenly aware of the anti-Israeli sentiments in his country and decided he wanted to change that. He has published articles about Israel in various Swedish and Israeli media to make the distance between Israel and Sweden less. Today Tobias is active in the Swedish pro-Israel network Perspektiv på Israel/Perspective on Israel.