Is Egypt Helping or Harming in Gaza?// With distrust on both sides, the future is in question

Egyptian border guards (R) observe from a watch tower as their Israeli counterparts supervise the construction of a border fence along Israel's border with Egypt near the Red Sea resort town of Eilat on February 15, 2012. Far from the uproar of Cairo's Tahrir Square, Israel has been doubling its efforts to erect a giant, impenetrable security barrier along its 240-kilometre (150-mile) border with the Egyptian Sinai. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD GHARABLI (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GettyImages)

“Since the war started in Gaza, it doesn’t look good. It looks like there is a lack of trust.”
—Mohamed Anwar Sadat, a nephew of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and a former member of the Egyptian Parliament, speaking to the Wall Street Journal about Israeli and Egyptian relations

The constant refrain from the international media since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005 was that Israel had imposed a blockade on the Gazans. What they conveniently left out was that Egypt also shares a border with Gaza and that it, too, kept tight controls on the flow of goods in and out of the area.
Since October 7, even those who want to vilify Israel as much as possible have had to reckon with the fact that Egypt is a player in regard to what comes in and out of Gaza, since for a great deal of the time the only way that anything could get into Gaza, including humanitarian supplies, was through Egypt. (Eventually, Israel reopened the Kerem Shalom crossing between Gaza and Israel, which had been attacked on October 7.)
But Egypt is more of a player in regard to the question of Gaza than just as a place through which to send food. Egypt is a negotiator with Hamas, even if Qatar has been the most prominent. Egypt has a concern about Palestinians leaving Gaza into Egypt. And Egypt has a relationship with Israel that is one of the oldest in the Arab world but has been strained recently.

Silence between Sisi and Netanyahu
Before October 7, Egypt was a regular destination for Israelis looking to go on vacation. That has almost entirely stopped since then, as the war rages on.
(On October 8, two Israelis were murdered and another wounded by an Egyptian policeman while they were at a tourist site in Alexandria, Egypt. That may have added to the worry by Israelis about visiting Egypt.)
Direct flights between Israel and Egypt have ceased, as well.

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