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Posters of Egyptian dictator Sisi raised in Gaza

November 23, 2021 at 9:33 am

Women walk past a giant banner depicting Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi amidst preparations to receive a visiting Egyptian intelligence delegation in Gaza City on 31 May 2021. [MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images]

Posters of Egypt’s dictator Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi have been placed around Gaza to thank him for reconstructing part of the Strip.

The display is reminiscent of 2017 when his image appeared across Gaza, as gratitude for Egypt’s role in reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

Following the 11-day Israeli bombardment on Gaza in May, an Egyptian construction company built a coastal road in the city of Beit Lahya.

The offensive killed 66 children and 260 Palestinians in total and destroyed some 2,000 homes amounting to losses estimated at $497 million.

Egypt pledged $500 million to help reconstruct Gaza, which was viewed at the time as an attempt to secure its influence in the Middle East which was waning after several Gulf countries normalised relations with Israel.

It is likely to give Egypt political influence with Gaza, and the international community.

READ: With French support, Egypt killed hundreds of civilians in ‘counterterror’ op, leaked documents show

The pledge followed Al-Sisi’s role in negotiating an end to the Israeli aerial bombardment on the Strip, which earned him praise from US President Joe Biden, with whom he had previously had cold relations.

However, at home Al-Sisi has been heavily criticised for pledging international aid abroad whilst Egyptians at home suffer.

The Egyptian army has destroyed more than 12,000 properties – mainly homes – in Sinai, on the other side of the Gaza border, and razed thousands of homes and farmland.

Across Egypt, two thirds of the population live below the poverty line and have suffered under a harsh package of austerity measures being rolled out across the country.

During the strikes, Egyptian security forces arrested two Egyptians who raised the Palestinian flag in public and arrested a doctor who volunteered to treat Palestinians wounded by air strikes.

Egyptian-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) coordinator for Egypt, Ramy Shaath, remains in prison. Authorities have tried to strip him of his passport on the grounds that he is Palestinian not Egyptian.

Since the Israeli blockade on Gaza began, Egypt has helped by keeping the Rafah Crossing mainly shut.