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Qatari academic appeals to Saudi king to seek end to blockade of Gaza

February 11, 2014 at 12:32 pm

A Qatari academic has made a personal appeal to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to intervene in an attempt to ease the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Dr. Mohammed Mesfer, a professor of political science at the University of Qatar, has asked for pressure to be put on the Egyptian authorities, which are supported strongly by the Saudis, to lift the blockade permanently.

In an open letter to the Saudi monarch, Dr Mesfer argued that the blockade imposed on Gaza is expected from the Israelis but for Egypt to impose the same is “unjustifiable”.

“Today,” wrote Mesfer, “you see right before your eyes that the Palestinian people of Gaza, of all groups and ideologies, are experiencing a full land, sea and air blockade imposed on them by the Israelis and their sister country, the Arab Republic of Egypt.” The victims of this crime, he pointed out, are children and students, those who are sick and those who are nursing. “Indeed, all the people of Gaza are living in a big prison.”

It is understandable that Israel has imposed a blockade and siege, he said, because it is an enemy state which is seeking to destroy the Palestinian people as a whole. “The responsibility of lifting the blockade of Gaza lies with the Palestinian Authority, which has allied itself with Israel first, then the general Arab public and the international community. All of these parties must work together to put an end to Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip in particular.”

Calling on King Abdullah to work with the current Egyptian regime to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip in a way that is immediate and permanent, Mesfer suggested that his recent support for the interim government gives him some leverage. “No other Arab leader will be able to put an end to the injustice occurring in Gaza.”

The academic expressed his surprise at Egypt’s behaviour towards Gaza and the Palestinians: “Last week General Ahmed Wasfi said that he will mobilise his troops to invade the Gaza Strip and, before that, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi basically declared war against the besieged residents of the territory.” He reminded the king that Egyptian military helicopters have joined Israeli aircraft flying over the Gaza Strip. “This was the first time that the Egyptian air force was permitted to fly above Gaza since 1967,” he continued. “At the same time, Israeli jets were sweeping the southern Gaza Strip; Palestinian fishing boats were set on fire by the Egyptian navy for no other reason than the fact that they had entered Egypt’s territorial waters; and Palestinian fishermen and sailors were arrested.”

Dr Mesfer criticised the national media campaign in Egypt against the Gaza Strip and the Palestinians, describing it as “unfair and savage” as it seeks to “discredit the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation”. All of this is done in order to make the Egyptian people hate the Palestinians in order to distract them from what is truly happening in Egypt, he claimed.

Although it is a heavy burden, the academic and intellectual said that the fate of the people of Gaza lies in King Abdullah’s hands. Taking the initiative to convince the Egyptian authorities to lift the siege once and for all will guarantee the Saudi monarch a place in history because he will have saved 1.5 million people from the destruction brought about by living under an unjust blockade.

“I swear to you three times in the name of God Almighty that information provided to you that organisations such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other organisations not associated with Oslo seek the destruction of Egypt is both unjust and false,” wrote Mesfer. “These organisations do not hold a hostile stance towards Egypt. They have no reason to be in the Sinai and their only enemy is Israel.” Putting his own “succinct and accurate research” on the line, the Qatari professor insisted that “there is no truth to any words claiming that the people of Gaza are terrorists and the security of Egypt lies in their hands”.

On the contrary, he noted, there is cooperation between the different factions of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and the Egyptian security forces. “This was especially true during the Mubarak era and the interim military rule of [Field Marshall Mohamed] Tantawi. This was the case during the time of President Mohammed Morsi, who is being slandered, and even Al-Sisi, who knows the value of this strategic cooperation,” he concluded.