The Re-Egyptification of the “Palestinians” of Gaza

UPDATE 10:30 am Israel time Saturday:

At 7:46 this morning, Palestinian terrorists fired three mortars into southern Israel. No physical injuries have been reported, but no reports from MADA about emotional trauma have been released as of this time.


As regular readers of this blog know, the Israeli government and IDF have employed an ever expanding list of pathetic excuses for not going after the “Palestinian” terrorists in Gaza once and for all. Many of these excuses have centered on Egypt: last year it was the ridiculous “we cannot attack because it might imperil the Arab Spring in Egypt”; this year it was the absurd “we cannot attack because it might unduly influence the Egyptian elections.”

The day is rapidly approaching when the Israeli government and IDF will say that no attack on Hamas in Gaza will be able to be launched because the Egyptians will claim that such an attack will be an attack on Egypt itself.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh marching through the streets of Gaza waving a Palestinian and an Egyptian flag following the election of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Morsi to the Egyptian presidency.

Over the last six months there has been an increasing Egyptification of Gaza, though one can argue that this Egyptification is nothing more than the “so-called Palestinians” in Gaza returning to their Egyptian roots.

You may remember the bellicose appeal for jihadist help against the Zionists by the Hamas “Minister of the Interior and of National Security”, Fathi Hammad, that appeared on Egyptian Al-Hekma TV on March 23 of this year (click here to watch).

In that appeal, Hammad claims that there are no such people as “Palestinians” per se (see my previous israelstreet blog  The Palestinians Are An Invented People) ; every “Palestinian”, he said, has his roots in an Arab country–particularly in Egypt. This theme of the Egyptian-‘Gazan Palestinian’ familial bond has been often repeated by other Hamas leaders in the succeeding months as they have sought to cement the bond between Egypt and Gaza.

And, at the same time that the Egyptians have sought to portray themselves to the world as fighting terrorism by closing smuggling tunnels from Egypt to Gaza, they have been engaged in a quiet but massive effort to Egyptify Gaza.

Using an Egyptian law that allows anyone born of an Egyptian mother to become an Egyptian citizen, the Egyptians are rushing to make Gazan “Palestinians” Egyptian citizens. As suggested above, it is an effort fully supported by Hamas, whose senior spokesman Mahmoud Zahar announced in April that he too had become an Egyptian citizen.

According to an Egyptian official yesterday, more than 50,000 “Palestinians”–mostly from Gaza–have been granted Egyptian citizenship in the last few months. Another 35,000 “Palestinians” from Gaza have submitted applications for citizenship that will be quickly approved. The official added that by sometime early next year over 100,000 “Palestinians” in Gaza would be new Egyptian citizens.

This is in addition to the unreported tens of thousands of “Palestinians” in Gaza who are already Egyptian citizens. In other words, by next year, perhaps as many as 10% of Gaza’s 1.6 million people will be Egyptians. 

A number that can only be expected to grow.

What seems obvious to your humble servant is that Egyptian President Morsi is attempting to make it “impossible” for the IDF to ever attack the terrorists in Gaza. By recasting the “Palestinians” as Egyptians, an attack on Gaza becomes an attack on Egypt.

But at the same time, Morsi, following in the time-honored scapegoating footsteps of virtually every Arab dictator of the last 64 years, continues to make the “Palestinian” cause his top priority. By focusing on the “struggle” for a “Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital”, Morsi hopes to divert the attention of the Egyptian street away from the lack of jobs and the price of bread.

A final note:

The irony is that as Egypt works to undermine the individual identity of “Palestinians” as “Palestinians” it also seeks to buttress the national aspirations of “Palestinians”. Where this dual strategy will lead is anyone’s guess.

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