Egypt’s defense of the sealing its border with Gaza amounts to condoning of the Palestinian suffering, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas suggests.
Hamas Spokesman Mushir al-Masri on Monday offered the group’s reaction to the argument of the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak calling the borderline fortification a matter of ‘sovereignty,’ the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported.
Mubarak said Sunday that “fortifications along our eastern border are a work of Egyptian sovereignty, and we refuse to enter into a debate with anyone [about them].”
Al-Masri said the Egyptian leader’s statements “contradict his earlier remarks that he would not allow the starvation of the Palestinian people in Gaza.”
He added that “Mubarak’s remarks defending the steel wall are an address on the blockade of 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
The densely-populated coastal sliver continues to suffer from an all-out Israeli-imposed blockade which has deprived the territory of basic necessities for over two years.
Cairo has also kept shut the Rafah border crossing – the Gaza Strip’s only border that bypasses Israel – claiming that the border post is an Egyptian-Israeli crossing and should not be used without Tel Aviv’s permission.
The Egyptian government is additionally building a steel wall along the Gaza border to prevent the trafficking of any goods to the strip.
“Egypt’s steel wall does not serve the interests of any Arab party….The Israeli occupation benefits from it, because it has killed the last lifeline keeping the Gaza Strip alive after two and a half years of siege,” al-Masri added.
The Human Rights Watch once again criticized Cairo on Sunday for its role in “collectively punishing” Gazans by keeping the Rafah border closed.
The organization primarily pointed its finger at Israel for refusing Gazans their basic living requirements, while arguing that Egypt’s role in the deadly siege “cannot be denied.”
“If Cairo wanted to, it could end the siege of Gaza tomorrow,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the director of the group’s Middle East and North Africa division.