On the third day of Israel’s attack on Gaza, street protesters across the Middle East broadened their rage toward Israel and the U.S. to include Arab rulers accused of not acting forcefully and fast enough to stop the violence.
The ferocity of the Israeli attacks in Gaza — and mounting casualties, which United Nations estimated Monday at 320 dead, including 62 civilians, and more than 1,400 injured — could channel pent-up anger against Arab leaders into further support for Islamist groups. These groups are increasingly seen as the only organized movements willing to stand up to Israel.
These feelings have been there for years; what has changed is that Arabs now have extremist groups through which they can channel their anger and resentment,” said Rami Khouri, a political analyst in Beirut. “You’ll have a new generation of people who want to fight Israel.”
By Farnaz Fassihi
The Wall Street Journal
Egypt, a close U.S. ally that has served as mediator between Israel and Hamas, came under particular fire for appearing unwilling to open its border crossing with Gaza to fleeing Palestinians.
Late Monday, Egypt allowed in a handful of Palestinians who needed emergency care and provided access to Gaza to convoys of humanitarian aid coming from abroad. Egypt has in the past been fearful that opening up the border would result in a flood of refugees and Hamas operatives entering its borders.
Wounded Palestinians are treated on the floor of Kamal Edwan hospital in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli air strike on the nearby Jabalia refugee camp. Wounded Palestinians finally passed through the Rafah crossing into Egypt on Monday as medical aid went in the other direction to the devastated Gaza Strip, an AFP correspondent reported(AFP/Mohammed Abed)
Cairo is struggling with its own Islamic opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood…
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Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit mocked the military records of Iran and the Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim movement Hezbollah in an escalating war of words over Egypt’s cooperation with Israel in the blockade of Gaza.
Aboul Gheit, in an interview with Egyptian television broadcast on Monday night, said Hezbollah destroyed Lebanon in 2006 and that its Katyusha rockets and rocket-propelled grenades were nothing compared to the Egyptian army.
Addressing Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, he said: “You are a man who used to enjoy respect, but you have insulted the Egyptian people.”
The Egyptian minister also attacked Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who criticised Arab governments on Monday for their lack of response to Israeli raids which have killed some 348 Palestinians in Gaza.
“It’s as if hundreds of thousands of Iranians shed their blood over the last 30 years,” he said, referring to the Egyptian view that its army bore the brunt of the suffering in wars with Israel for the sake of the Palestinians.
Egypt fought four wars with Israel between 1948 and 1973, losing tens of thousands of soldiers. In 1979, it became the first Arab country to make peace with the Jewish state.
“There are Iranian motives driving Arab parties to play in the interests of Iran,” the minister added.
Nasrallah, whose guerrilla forces withstood the Israeli invasion of south Lebanon in 2006, angered the Egyptian government with a speech on Sunday calling on Egyptians to take to the streets in protest at Egyptian policy.
Aboul Gheit replied: “Egypt is big and strong and no one outside it can move anything inside it. Egypt moves when the Egyptian people and the Egyptian leadership ask it to.”
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