Israel closed its crossings into Gaza on Tuesday after a bomb attack on the Israel-Gaza border killed an Israeli soldier. The crossings were later re-opened, allowing 174 trucks of food and other aid into Gaza on Wednesday, and 149 on Thursday.
But the crossing from Egypt at Rafah remains closed, with some two dozen aid trucks waiting to go through. Local Egytian officials say they do not know why.
It is obvious to everyone that controlled border crossings need to be open to allow aid into Gaza. Hamas launches attacks on border crossings, and steals aid and sells it to the highest bidder, yet Israel keeps its crossings open and allows hundreds of aid trucks through. But directions from high in the Egyptian government command that the Rafah crossing should be closed. Why?
Egypt doesn’t want Hamas in control of Gaza any more than Israel does. As long as Hamas is in charge, there will be no peace with Israel, and no lasting reconstruction or building of infrastructure. The best outcome for the people of Gaza, and for neighbouring nations like Israel and Egypt, is a change of regime. This cannot be imposed – it has to come from the Palestinian people.
There is no doubt many wish for change. But with stories like this, of Hamas torturing and murdering anyone who opposes them, it will take a huge amount of courage from a few, or a massive popular rebellion from the people of Gaza for that change to come. Perhaps Egypt is hoping that frustration and desperation as people wait for aid, along with the manifest mismanagement and aggression of Hamas, will be a sufficient driver to motivate such a rebellion.