Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Why doesn't Egypt annex Gaza to provide Palestinians a reasonable life?

This question was actually asked on Quora.

Simply put, Egypt, like all the other surrounding Arab countries, do not want to remove Palestinian Identity. It is a concept that even the Palestinians accept. They must not be a forgotten people. Their self-determination is just as great as Israeli self-determination. One could ask the same question as to why Israel wouldn't agree to a multi-cultural, purely democratic, non-racial single state that is enjoyed by both people in the region - after all, Arabs and Jews shared the land amongst themselves for many centuries prior to European colonisation. The answer that would most likely be found would be no different than that of the Palestinians.

This identity is in contradiction to the statement that Golda Meir made when she believed that Palestinians didn't exist. This rhetoric is untrue, because they have always existed and were described as Philistinieen (arabic phonetic). The English translation of that is Palestinians, so naturally the Brits named their colonial region Palestine after the indigenous people that lived there for centuries.

Egyptians know this history well.

The very implication of annexation is an immoral act of delegitimizing a people of their identity and of their rightful home wherein you will find a critical distinction between that and the notion of colonisation as was the status of the region when it was Mandate Palestine. While the British occupiers had control of Palestine between WWI and WWII - much to the dislike of the Arabs - they did not create settlements over existing homes, nor did they displace or deport the inhabitants of the land. Their presence was purely a military presence, and while there were checkpoints, Palestinians were able to travel and trade freely between each city without restrictions.

Based on the above information, a more resonable question would be why Egypt wouldn't colonize the Gaza Strip and provide Palestinians living there with a resonable life? The answer to that is simpler still: That was in fact the status during 1948-67 where Egypt provided military protection for the people of Gaza while promising those who where displaced from their homes the Right of Return. Never at any time did Egypt feel the need to remove the Palestinian's identity in addition to those who were made refugees. Unfortunately with their blind hatered and zeal, there was no vision in restoring that identity and they subsequently lost legitimacy as protectors of these people.

Having said that, hypothetically if either annexation or colonisation were in fact a possibility today, it would definately be a contentious topic regarding the Rafa border crossing that Israel would no doubt want a cruical role in playing a part of. Currently Israel's intention is to demilitarize a newly formed State of Palestine which is ironic in its own right because this is in fact the current status quo, and it leaves a large blur in the definition of sovereignty.

No doubt Israel would want to ensure its "safety" by trying to prevent the border from being continuously open for free trade and movement at the Rafa crossing. Israelis would most likely feel that it is in their own interest to be the state responsible for "colonising" Gaza with their demilitarization edict to complete their blockade around the entire strip.

That is of course if they don't have another friendly dictator by the time Egypt have their civil elections.

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