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Israel’s Rafah Operation Hurts Egypt’s Plans – Opinion

Elie Podeh
Jerusalem Post, May 20, 2024

“Egypt seeks end to war and restored calm.”
Al-Ahram newspaper recently reported that Egypt had provided tens of thousands of psychological support sessions for Palestinians injured since the onset of the war in Gaza. This seemingly minor news story is part of a comprehensive media and PR campaign to demonstrate Egypt’s commitment to the Palestinian cause.

Since October 7, Egypt has found itself at the epicentre of the conflict. Sharing a border with Gaza since Israel’s disengagement in 2005, Egypt fears a mass exodus of Palestinians fleeing – or being expelled – over that border into Sinai. Such a scenario would pose a significant security and humanitarian threat to a country already struggling with a large, impoverished population and which has only recently overcome the threat of Islamic State cells among the Bedouin in the Sinai Peninsula. Additionally, Egypt already hosts around half a million refugees, mainly from Sudan and Syria.

Egypt is also grappling with severe economic issues. Revenues from the Suez Canal have plummeted due to Houthi attacks in the Bab el-Mandeb Straits, tourism has dropped off, natural gas revenues are declining, and poverty rates are rising due to escalating prices. Ending the war is, therefore, a high priority for Egypt. However, the conflict also provides President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi with an opportunity to restore Egypt’s leadership in the Arab world.. … [To read the full article, click here]

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