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Are the Palestinians paying the price for Egypt’s crisis?

Despite the poor living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Egyptians living in Palestine are, it is alleged, compiling lists of people they believe are “infringing” on the Egyptian state. This list, claims a report in the Middle East News Agency (MENA), includes ordinary people, the government and security agencies and is to be sent to the authorities in Cairo with a demand to ban the individuals from entering Egypt.

“The list includes journalists, media personalities and politicians,” claims MENA, “who have and continue to abuse Egypt through their lies and false statements, which aim to defame Egypt and its army and spread sedition among the Egyptian people and their Palestinian brothers.”

The Palestinians, it seems, are paying the price for the mistakes and crises with which they have absolutely no connection. They are to be restricted from interaction with other Arab countries by the coup authorities in Egypt, which have stopped passing on fuel supplied for Gaza by Qatar.

There is a resultant state of anger in Palestine towards what is happening in Egypt, especially since the closure of the Rafah Crossing, which has had a major impact on daily life. Fuel shortages and the destruction of the tunnels have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis.

Political analyst Eyad Atallah stressed that the Palestinians are now paying the price for the Egyptian crisis and the military coup against President Mohamed Morsi. He emphasised the importance of not involving the Palestinians in any internal Arab disputes.

Atallah told Istiqlal newspaper, “The talk regarding the list of Palestinian names to be prohibited from entering Egyptian territory is reprehensible, especially since the Rafah crossing is the only land crossing for the Gazans to the world.” He urged the Egyptian authorities not to take advantage of this to serve their own purposes.

The Egyptian media is playing a role in turning public opinion against the Gaza Strip and its people, explained Atallah. “It is using fraud and forgery, and promoting lies to do this,” he claimed. “The media is demanding, on behalf of the Egyptian people, the launch of missiles or a ground invasion against Gaza.”

The government-controlled Egyptian media really hates the Muslim Brotherhood, he added, and this hatred is now projected onto Hamas, which is an offshoot of the Brotherhood and governs Gaza.”

An independent Egyptian source confirmed that the authorities are “closely monitoring the current events in Gaza” but have ruled out the possibility of there being an official Egyptian demand that the Egyptian community in Palestine hand over the list of names of people to be banned. The anonymous source added that it is important to keep the crisis internal to Egypt.

“When the internal Palestinian division occurred between Hamas and Fatah, Egypt did not take sides, but instead contributed to bringing them together and held many meetings with them in order to end the division,” he said. “It dealt with both sides equally and Egypt did not interfere in internal Palestinian matters, which is what some groups are doing now.” Such intervention, he added, is suspicious. “What is the intention behind this; to intensify attacks on Gaza and its people?”

The Palestinians, he concluded, have nothing to do with what is happening in Egypt. “The Palestinian compass must remain fixed towards Jerusalem, as it was set by their late leaders Shaikh Ahmed Yassin, Fathi Shaqaqi and President Yasser Arafat.”

This is a translation of the Arabic text which appeared in AlEstqlal Newspaper, Palestine, 9 September 2013

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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