After Hesham Qandil’s latest visit to Gaza and the recent Egyptian convoy travelling there, commentators examine the situation, with some criticising Morsy’s relations with Israel. Other columnists still denounce the Assiut incident, calling on the government to undertake serious action.
What does Palestine mean to you?
Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper
Looking into Egypt’s intervention in the recent attacks on Gaza, Al-Naggar addresses all Egyptians, regardless of their political inclinations, and attempts to convince them that the Palestinian issue should be one their top interests. To Islamists, the writer says the killings in Gaza should be seen as a religious issue, and Egyptians should help their Muslim brothers and sisters there. He then addresses liberals, making the point that the continuing bloodshed is contrary to human rights. Therefore, we should all start behaving proactively.
Al-Naggar argues that the Palestinian issue is directly linked to Egypt’s strategic position. He believes that if Israel occupied Gaza, they would be practically at Suez. Refuting claims that Palestinians are responsible for the loss of their land, the states that thousands of families have been forced from their homes following brutal Israeli attacks.
If you are not fond of the Muslim Brotherhood and their rule, do not undermine the tremendous efforts exerted by Hamas leaders and their resistance to aggression, he says. To conclude, the writer recalls a Palestinian fighter who said, “take care of Egypt. If Egypt falls, the whole Arab region will consequently fall”.
Don’t be surprised… the Manfalout will be repeated again
Emad Al-Din Hussein
Considering the recent incident in Assiut where 51 children died in a collision between a school bus and a train, Hussein says he expects more such tragedies to occur. As long as Qandil’s government does not take serious action to improve deteriorating infrastructure, the writer argues that Egyptians will soon forget the Assiut tragedy as soon as another incident occurs; just like they forgot the Upper Egypt train crash and El-Salam ferry sinking; incidents in which thousands died.
Hussein does not want to put the full blame on President Morsy or Qandil’s government though, noting that the resignation of the minister of transportation is an important development in the context of the accident.
The first step the government should take, in Hussein’s opinion, is to identify all areas that require immediate attention. The writer recalls an incident where a taxi driver in Alexandria drove the wrong way down a street, crashing into a car and killing a passenger.
Bystanders then attacked the driver before he was taken to the police station. The columnist uses the example to suggest that firmer enforcement action needs to be taken against traffic infringements, alongside a stronger security forces presence in the streets. Instead of leaving the Assiut tragedy behind in a couple of weeks, Hussein calls upon Qandil’s government to work on a comprehensive transport and infrastructure overhaul. Most importantly, the government should strongly enforce existing law.
Gaza is no longer alone
Can you hear the noise of the Israeli attacks on Gaza? The sound of aircraft flying constantly overhead, accompanied by ambulance sirens? Such noise continues to accompany the everyday life of Palestinians in Gaza, Soweif says.
Considering Egypt’s reaction to Israel’s aggression, she praises Qandil’s visit to Gaza with a convoy of doctors and pharmacists, stating that Egyptians have always wanted to see themselves genuinely represented in Gaza. However she criticises Morsy’s decisions to close the border with Gaza, to reject a free trade zone with the enclace and to maintain cordial relations with Israel.
Soweif condemns this reactive stance while ordinary Arabs in several countries are demonstrating to show Palestinian solidarity. Several Egyptian aid convoys have travelled to Gaza already, while activists in Tunisia and Libya have been protesting against the attacks. The time has come for ordinary Arab citizens to show their governments how to take action.