Uri Avnery on the very simple but shameful reasons Egypt remains a well behaving client state of its pay-masters, dances to the tune of Israel and Washington, isolates Gaza and refuses entry to the Gaza Freedom Marchers:
Cynics point out that the Egyptian government receives a huge American subsidy every year – almost two billion dollars – by courtesy of Israel. It started as a reward for the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. The pro-Israel lobby in the US Congress can stop it any time.
Others believe that Mubarak is afraid of Hamas. The organization started out as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, still the main opposition to his autocratic regime. The Cairo-Riyadh-Amman-Ramallah axis is poised against the Damascus-Gaza axis that is allied with the Tehran-Hizbullah axis. Many people believe that Mahmoud Abbas is interested in the tightening of the Gaza blockade in order to hurt Hamas.
Mubarak is angry with Hamas, which refuses to dance to his tune. Like his predecessors, he demands that the Palestinians obey his orders. President Abd-al-Nasser was angry with the PLO (an organization created by him to ensure Egyptian control of the Palestinians, but which escaped him when Yasser Arafat took over). President Anwar Sadat was angry with the PLO for rejecting the Camp David agreement, which promised Palestinians only “autonomy”. How dare the Palestinians, a small, oppressed people, refuse the ”advice” of Big Brother?
All these explanations make sense, yet the Egyptian government’s attitude is still astonishing. The Egyptian blockade of Gaza destroys the lives of 1.5 million human beings, men and women, old people and children, most of who are not Hamas activists. It is done publicly, before the eyes of hundreds of millions of Arabs, a billion and a quarter Muslims. In Egypt itself, too, millions of people are ashamed of the participation of their country in the starving of fellow Arabs.
It is a very dangerous policy. Why does Mubarak follow it?
Egypt is in a bad situation. Therefore, Mubarak has no choice but to follow the dictates of the US – which are, in fact, Israeli dictates. That is the real explanation for his participation in the blockade.