Egyptian Revolution Stirs Palestinian Conflict

By Joey Jackson-

An almost 63-year-old war has been raging in the Palestinian region of the Middle East.

Although not many Americans, much less high school students at Penn Manor may be aware of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it has been put back under the spotlight as revolutions in Libya and Egypt have rejuvenated the world’s interest in that region of the world.

Since the “birth” of Israel in 1948 there has been a multitude of violence, sparked from the conquering of Palestinian land by the Israelis, coupled with proposed treaties, almost none of which have panned out. To this day, Israel has only managed to maintain a state of peace with two countries, Jordan and Egypt.

Land owned by Israel, in white, compared to land owned by Palestinians, in green, since the creation of the Jewish state. Graphic courtesy foreignpolicyjournal.com

The Camp David Accords have successfully kept the conflict between Israel and Egypt in check since President Jimmy Carter brokered the agreements in 1978.

This peace with Egypt is under some tension currently, as, for the first time since 2007, Egypt will be opening its eight-mile-long border, known as Rafah, to the Gaza Strip.

The border was closed between Gaza and Egypt in order to weaken the military group Hamas, a group that governs the Gaza Strip but is also considered to be a terrorist organization.

Israel also had built a barrier between them and the Gaza Strip between 1994 and 1996, to improve Israeli Security.

This decision is a direct effect of the Egyptian revolution, as the decision to close the border was made under former Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak.

The pro-Palestinian public of Egypt never backed Mubarak’s decision due to the fact that it limited the ability of Palestinians in Gaza to live wealthy, free lives.

With Mubarak out of office and on trial for crimes committed during his presidency, the new Egyptian government has taken advantage of the situation and ended the four year blockade on May 28.

History teacher Joe Herman has another theory as to why Egypt’s transitional government made the decision to open the Rafah border.

“By giving relief to Palestine the Egyptians are hoping this will help them in the eyes of the Arab world but also give them a new outlet for trade.”

Egypt could use all of the positive press it can get in the eyes of Palestine, as Egypt has been practically shunned by other pro-Palestinian countries since agreeing to the Camp David Accords in 1978.

Soon after the announcement that the border will be opened, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh requested his people respect the border in hopes to keep this viable source of economic power open.

“As long as the shipments are consumer goods and medical supplies there should be no problem,” Herman said about the future of the border. “If the radical factions of the Palestinians use the border openings as a means to bring weapons into Gaza,
then there will be trouble.”

Hamas have been disappointed so far, as the high expectations that they had for the border had been severely miscalculated as restrictions have slowed movement down to a crawl.

Egypt opens the Rafah border. Photo courtesy the-explorer.com

Surprisingly, the move to open the border has been largely beneficial to Israel who had been pleading with Egypt to keep the border closed. Essentially, the open border is dumping the Hamas issue onto the shoulders of Egypt’s transitional government.

Israel has been preparing for the worst however, upping the work schedule on a permanent barrier dividing the nearly 135-mile-wide border between Egypt and Israel.

Israel has been having trouble with a different border recently as protesters from Syria were shot upon by the Israeli government at the border of the Golan Heights, a small region in between Israel and Syria that has been held by Israel since 1967.

Strikes in southern Lebanon, a region north of Israel that was occupied by Israel until 2000, have started to protest violence committed by Israel.

The hundreds wounded last Sunday were part of the worst bloodshed the Golan Heights has seen since the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

Israel is denying claims by Syria however, claiming the casualty numbers were inflated. Israel also went as far as to say Syria sent the unarmed civilians to the border to distract the world from its own violent revolution.

The Golan Heights would be some of the land that Barack Obama asked Israel to retreat from since Israel had taken control of that region after 1967.

These requests were shot down by Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leaving these proposals just another failed attempt at peace.

Comments

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