Barry Shaw

The hyposcrisy of the Egyptian blockade on Gaza exposed by the recent terror attacks in Sinai and Israel.

Israel averted what could have been a major terrorist attack on Sunday, 5th August, when it intercepted and destroyed an armoured vehicle carrying several jihadi terrorists. This terror group had over run an Egyptian army base in the southern Sinai killing 16 soldiers and capturing explosives, weapons, and the armoured vehicle, which they drove into Israel in an attempt to reach a civilian area and kill as many Israelis as they could find. The IDF had been alerted and observed the attack on the Egyptian military base. It tracked the commandeered military vehicle into Israel before attacking it, blowing up the heavily armoured vehicle, and killing all the terrorists. Israel chose to allow the vehicle to enter Israeli territory before destroying it so as not to cause an international incident by firing into Egyptian territory, and not to embarrass Egypt by giving unrequested support to the Egyptian military. No Israelis were harmed in this incident.

Following the mass funeral of the military personnel, and the wave of outrage by Egyptians, the new Egyptian president took out his anger on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Heavy earthmoving vehicles began sealing the illegal smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. This is a rich source of income and flow of goods, weapons, and terrorists, for Hamas in Palestinian-held territory.

This attack is proving to be a military, political, and economical disaster for Hamas. Just a week after Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, met with President Morsy in Cairo and signed an agreement of cooperation, Egypt have now reintroduced their blockade on the Gaza Strip. The military in Egypt had objected to this new agreement as they consider Hamas a threat to the country’s national security and interests, due to the close ties between the Islamist Hamas and the various terror groups operating in the Sinai.

Now, after the death of the Egyptian soldiers, voice are heard in Egypt blaming Morsy for the “massacre in the Sinai” and demanding that he close the Rafah border crossing with Gaza. In the ongoing Palestinian power struggle,The Palestinian Authority had also expressed displeasure with Morsey’s concessions to Hamas. One Fatah official said that Hamas had territorial ambitions in the Sinai, a part of Egypt. Another, Ahmed  Assaf, said that the Sinai attack was “a natural extension to what is going on in the Gaza Strip.” Assaf also said that the violent Hamas take-over of the Gaza Strip five years ago had brought much damage to the Palestinians, “and today we are seeing that it is beginning to affect Egypt.” He also accused Hamas of encouraging “jihadi” groups in the Gaza Strip to carry out crimes like the one perpetrated on Sunday. He went on to talk about the use of the smuggling tunnels not only for fuel, drugs, weapons, but also to enrich some of its leaders.

The Egyptian move to close the smuggling tunnels and to reimpose the blockade on the Gaza Strip will have serious economic and social repercussions on Hamas and the population living in the Gaza Strip.

It remains to be seen if the anti-Israel human rights groups and pro-Palestinian Western agitators will be as vociferous in support of the people living in Gaza now that it is the new Egyptian Government, and not the Mubarak regime, that has clamped down on the Strip, as they have been in condemning Israel for the steps it has taken to protect its citizens from Islamic Hamas and jihadi terrorists and rockets.

Up to now they have been unsurprisingly silent. Apparently they only make noise when Israel is acting in defense of its people criticising and acting against Israel, and Israel alone, of measures taken against a Hamas leadership bent on its destruction.

The long standing Egyptian blockade on the Gaza Strip continues to operate under their radar, a silence that says more about them than it does about Israel..

About the Author
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is also the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism,' '1917. From Palestine to the Land of Israel, 'BDS for IDIOTS,' and his latest work 'A Tale of Love and Destiny,' the dramatic life of a Jewish heroine.