In one of the clearest signs yet that the “Arab Spring” in post-Mubarak Egypt heralds a resurgent Islamic supremacism rather than a flowering of Western-style pluralism and democracy, Egyptian officials announced Wednesday that they were reopening the Rafah crossing this Saturday.
The Rafah crossing is the only official point of entry into Gaza other than from inside Israel. Egypt closed it for good in 2007 after Hamas took power in Gaza, as part of its uneasy observance of the Camp David Accords maintaining peace with Israel. The Rafah crossing had been an easy route into Israel for jihadis and their weapons suppliers who, for obvious reasons, wanted to avoid Israeli scrutiny.
But now it appears that peace with Israel is no longer such a high priority; instead, the new government in Egypt appears to be more concerned with accommodating Israel’s jihadist enemies. Egyptian officials announced that the Rafah crossing was being reopened in order to “end the status of the Palestinian division and achieve national reconciliation.”
The reopening of the Rafah crossing is just the latest indication that Egypt is heading toward becoming a Sharia state that is pursuing war with Israel. Man-on-the-street interviews conducted during the uprising against Mubarak more than once found ordinary Egyptians explaining to clueless and incredulous reporters from the likes of CNN that one of their principal beefs with Mubarak was that he maintained peace with Israel. “He is supporting Israel. Israel is our enemy,” protesters explained to the journalists who had come out looking for ringing declarations of love for democracy and pluralism. Instead, they heard that “if people are free in Egypt”¦they gonna destroy Israel.” Many of the demonstrators carried posters of Mubarak defaced with a Star of David drawn on his forehead.
In January, Mohamed Ghanem, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, said in an interview on Iran’s Al-Alam television station that Egypt should prepare to go to war with Israel. That same month, Iran’s Press TV interviewed an Egyptian international lawyer Marwan al-Ashaal. Al-Ashaal explained the popular discontent with Mubarak as a direct consequence of his keeping the peace with Israel: “Currently the Egyptians demand a new rule for the country, a new government, a new leader. The American-Egyptian relationships were based on Israeli security and I think Mubarak has been very dedicated to Israeli security more even than to his own people’s security or the national interests.” Al-Ashaal asserted that “we see the deals with Israel that provoked people and took them to the edge.” And he declared that Egypt is “never going to be a friend of Israel.”