The Week (US)
Helping Gaza or helping themselves?
“On the face of it,” it seems generous of Egypt to offer $500 million to rebuild the Gaza Strip after Israel’s latest bombing campaign, said Sultan Barakat. But this gift is driven neither by altruism nor by Arab solidarity. When Turkey and Qatar fund such efforts, they always subcontract the work to “provide employment to the many skilled workers in Gaza and stimulate the territory’s beleaguered and battered economy.” Cairo, though, wants Egyptian firms to handle the reconstruction, because its true motive is providing jobs for Egyptian workers and “increasing its influence over Palestine.” This is no surprise. Egypt under
the brief tenure of democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi was a friend to Gazans. But after army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi deposed the Islamist Morsi in a bloody 2013 coup, Cairo has been “just another obstacle” to Gaza’s development. El-Sissi even bombed the border tunnels that Gazans use to smuggle in food and medicine from Egypt. Rather than offering construction workers and materials, foreign nations that genuinely want to help the Palestinians should concentrate on pressuring Israel to lift its brutal blockade. Gaza’s reconstruction “can only be truly successful if it is led by the Palestinians themselves.”