Great News. The New Arab-sprung Egypt will cease cooperating with Israel on the blockade of Gaza and furthermore, will soon open the Rafah border crossing. Now that they've said No to Pharaoh, they're on a roll, saying No to all sorts of things.
CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt will permanently open the Rafah border crossing to ease the blockade on Gaza, Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi said Friday, sparking Israeli concerns over the implications for regional security.
Arabi said in an interview with [guess] Al-Jazeera his country would take "important steps to help ease the blockade on Gaza in the few days to come," according to the Arabic-language satellite channel.
He said Egypt would no longer accept that the Rafah border -- Gaza's only crossing that bypasses Israel -- remain blocked, describing his country's decision to seal it off as "shameful."
While Israel is understandably concerned about the weaponry that will likely pour into the Gaza strip, I would guess there would be a great deal of traffic in the opposite direction as well. The last time the border was opened - when HAMAS blew a giant hole in it in January 2008, thousands - tens of thousands, and maybe even hundreds of thousands - of Gaza Arabs poured into Egypt.
(IsraelNN.com) Tens of thousands of PA Arabs crossed the Gaza-Egypt border Wednesday morning after masked Hamas men bombed the border fence in at least 15 locations.
Palestinians make their way to Egypt after Palestinian gunmen blew up a section of the border wall between the Gaza Strip and Egypt January 23, 2008. Palestinian militants blew up part of the wall between Gaza and Egypt on Wednesday, and tens of thousands of Palestinians poured into Egypt... REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (GAZA)
This went on for days and days. Avi Issarcharoff, writing at Haaretz, called it a "reverse Exodus into Sinai." The UN estimated that "as much as half of Gaza's 1.5 million population" had crossed the border.
Maybe the other half will go this time. It wouldn't be surprising, given the consistent pattern of reaction. Anyone remember 2005? (It helps if you have an archive at your fingertips.)
AFP - Sat Sep 17  2:49 PM ET Palestinians cross the Gaza-Egypt border in the divided city of Rafah. Palestinian forces fired warning shots and pushed back stone-throwing crowds on the southern Gaza Strip's Egyptian border, attempting to reimpose order after a week of illegal crossings by thousands of people.(AFP/Mohammed Abed)
I'm trying not to print my thought that, should sufficient numbers of Gazans cross into Egypt, Israel could walk in, establish a real border and pave the Gaza strip. Jews could use the parking lot to go to the beach.
One last thing, though, in all seriousness. I'm thinking... So what if they "say no" to Mubarak, quit the blockade and open the border? Let them proceed to break the treaty that has provided a "cold peace" for decades. 54 pct of Egyptians would like to see it annulled anyway.
The reason I think what we're seeing is Good News is if Egypt does abrogate the Sadat-Begin peace agreement then Israel gets the land back... Sinai oilfields and all.
"The Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula showed that Israel is willing to make painful sacrifices for peace."
By withdrawing from Sinai, Israel gave up:
* The homes of over 7,000 Israelis
* The Alma Oil Field, discovered and developed by Israel, and valued at over $100 billion [in 2005]
* More than 170 military installations
* Dozens of early warning stations and strategic defense locations
It wouldn't be a bad deal. Peace for Land, instead of Land for Peace. We've learned, after all, that of the two, Land is the more lasting, less fickle, commodity. Or at least we should have learned that... by now.