Mubarak Resists Calls at Home, in Region to Admit Palestinians Fleeing Violence
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, January 10, 2009; Page A01
CAIRO, Jan. 9 — Rarely has an Arab leader been so widely perceived as backing Israel and the United States against the Palestinians, whose struggle has been a fundamental rallying point for Arabs and Muslims for more than six decades.
But Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has rejected popular and regional pressure to open the Gaza-Egypt border and toughen his stance against Israel. In recent days, his government has voiced support for Palestinians in an effort to defuse mounting criticism, but officials continue to suppress anti-Israeli demonstrations.
On Friday, as Israeli forces continued a two-week-old offensive against Hamas, the armed Islamist movement that controls Gaza, scores of Egyptian doctors emerged from their union building in downtown Cairo. They clutched posters reading “Gaza Is Dying” and banners demanding the opening of the Rafah border crossing. One demonstrator held a baby doll, symbolizing a Palestinian child, in a white sheet covered with fake blood.
Black-clad riot police stood before them, grim-faced in their black helmets. Brandishing clubs, they blocked the protesters from entering the street.
|Protesters in Alexandria, Egypt, call on the president to open the Gaza border, which he has done only for the most serious Palestinian casualties and to allow some aid through.|
|Photo Credit: By Tarek Fawzy — Associated Press|