After years of behind- scene activity in the Gaza Strip, Egypt will public.
Since mediating a ceasefirefire between Israel and the resistance of the ruling Hamas in Gaza groupEgypt sent crews clear rubble and promises to build vast new apartment complexes. Egyptian flags and billboards praising President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi have sprung up up through the Palestinian territory.
It’s a new see for Egyptians, who spent years working quietly to encourage truce talks between Israel and Hamas and reconciliation between rival Palestinian factions.
The change could help prevent – or at least delay – another round of violence. By presenting itself as a peacemaker in the Middle East, Egypt could also direct efforts by the Biden administration and some U.S. lawmakers to hold the country accountable for Abuse of human rights.
The 11 Day Gaza War last May “allowed Egypt once again market asserts itself as an essential security partner for Israel in the region – who it is – who in tour makes it an indispensable security partner for in the United States,” said Hafsa Halawa, an expert on Egypt at the Middle East Institute, a Washington think tank.
“Gaza is a reminder to everyone, indeed, that you really can’t do anything without Egypt,” she said.
Extended aid, in parallel with son control over Rafah – Gaza’s only border crossing that bypasses Israel – gives leverage to Egypt over Hamas, the Palestinian resistance group who has reigned over Gaza since he led out forces loyal to the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority (PA) in 2007.
Egypt joined Israel in impose a crippling blockade on the territory after the Hamas takeover, but the two countries have recently taken steps to ease restrictions, tacitly acknowledging that Hamas rule is here to stay.
After brokering the informal cessationfire that ended the Gaza war, Egypt pledged 500 millions dollars for rebuild the territory and sent work teams to remove the rubble.
While he remains not clear how many of this money was delivered, Egypt is now subsidizing the construction of three cities that must house some 300,000 inhabitants, according to Naji Sarhan, the deputy director of Hamas-run Ministry of Housing. The work is also underway to modernize Gaza main coastal road. Sarhan said the projects will take a year and one half at complete.
“We hope there will be big prizes of projects in the near future, in particular the tours who were destroyed in war,” he said.
Israel razed four skyscrapers during the fighting, saying they housed Hamas military Infrastructure. He did not render public supporting evidence up the claims, which Hamas denies. building materials will be shipped via Rafah.
Alaa al-Arraj, of Palestinian entrepreneurs union said nine Palestinian companies will participate in the Egyptian projects, which would generate some 16,000 much-needed jobs in impoverished territory.
The Egyptian presence is palpable. Almost every week, Egyptian delegations travel to Gaza to inspect work. They have also opened a office in a hotel in Gaza City for permanent technical representatives.
Egyptian flags and banners of Egyptian companies float on bulldozers, trucks and electric poles. Dozens of Egyptian workers arrived, sleeping in a makeshift hostel in a school in Gaza City.
Five days a week, Egyptian trucks full with construction materials enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing – a visible contrast to the intermittent shipments arriving through an Israeli-controlled crossing.
Suhail Saqqa, a Gaza entrepreneur involved in reconstruction, says the constant flow of Egyptian materials is critical.
“The goods are not limited by the points Israeli crossings, and that makes them important,” Saqqa said.
The projects are part of a wider realignment after years in which Gaza was taken in a tug-of-the war between the Arab states following the uprising of the Arab Spring protests of 2011.
A short duration elected government in Egypt was closely allied with the gulf country of Qatar and sympathizer with Hamas. He eased the blockade and negotiated the end of a brief war in Gaza in 2012. But what follows year he was overthrown by the Egyptian military.
The Egyptian leader, el-Sissi, who led the reversal, first adopted a hard-line position against Hamas, ordering the destruction of extensive network of smuggling tunnels that had brought the Gaza Strip to life economy.
Qatar, which supports various groups across the regionwhile waiting in provide humanitarian assistance, including cash- filled suitcases sent to Gaza with permission from Israel.
The rivalry escalated, with Cairo joining the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in blockade of Qatar from 2017 until a year There are. But relations have improved, and Egypt and Qatar are now cooperating to provide aid that helps Hamas government pay its officials.
The Growing Egyptian role give Cairo a powerful tool to enforce Hamas compliance with the truce. He can shut down Rafah whenever he wants, which makes it nearly impossible for anyone travel in or out of Gaza, which is home at more more than 2 millions of Palestinians.
Egypt ‘can suffocate Gaza in a moment” if his demands are not meta declared Maged Mandour, an Egyptian politician analyst.
That might be enough to prevent another outbreak of hostilities in the close term. But it does not address the underlying conflict that has fueled four wars between Israel and Hamas and countless skirmishes. over the last 15 years old.
Israel imposed a policy of separation between the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza, which flank Israel and, under a proposal endorsed by the international community, one day be part of a Palestinian state.
Israel’s current government ruled out all major peace initiatives – even with Mahmoud Abbas, the West-backed Palestinian president in the occupied West Bank – but it took steps improve living conditions, in particular by issuing some 10,000 permits for Gazans to work inside Israel.
Relations between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah party immersed in a new moo last year after calling off the first elections in more 15 years old. Repeated attempts at reconciliation – many brokered by Egypt – have failed.
Corn for Egypt and Israel, and for a concentrated American administration on bigger crises elsewhere – preserving the status quo in Gaza might be enough.
“Egypt wants agreements or even pressure on Hamas so the situation won’t explode,” said Talal Oukal, a Gaza-based politician. analyst.