Mursi’s Gaza moment

GAZA IS back in news. The parleys that Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi has had with Hamas leaders, including Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal, has raised the hopes for the reopening of the landlocked enclave.

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Published: Sun 29 Jul 2012, 9:45 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 12:46 AM

In the same vein, Mursi also met his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas indicating of a breakthrough in addressing the diaspora problem in the region. Cairo holds the decisive card while dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli imbroglio. What is expected instantly is the lifting of embargo on trade and travel with Gaza, thus re-opening the occupied territory after almost three years of closure. But what has surprised many is the discreet silence that Mursi had maintained over the issue, and he didn’t make use of his discretionary powers in providing relief to almost 1.5 million people of the enclave. Whereas, the Muslim Brotherhood to which Mursi belongs had been campaigning for not only opening up Gaza’s border with Egypt, but also penalising Israel for the crimes against the Palestinians. Mursi has truly exhibited that there is a practical gap between politics of passion and power politics when it comes exercising of powers in an official capacity. It remains to be seen what policy Cairo evolves while dealing with Gaza and Israel’s intransigence in the region.

It goes without saying, however, that Mursi cannot afford to further the policies of his predecessor Hosni Mubarak and keep Gaza in a state of limbo. Moreover, what is needed of a resurgent Egypt after the Tahrir revolution is brokering of a dialogue between the politico-militant Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Until and unless that is attained Egypt’s role will be compromised, providing Israel with the advantage to unleash another reign of terror at its time of choosing. This is the time for Mursi to spell out his vision and approach on the peace treaty with Israel, and how he wants to see the Palestinian question addressed while dealing with the Jewish state. Cairo’s muted approach will come to marginalise its own strength in the region.

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