CAIRO: Opposition MPs are urging the government to allocate LE 500 million to provide housing for Gaza residents along the border.
Around 35 opposition MPs sent an urgent request to Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif calling for the development of the Egyptian city of Rafah.
Muslim Brotherhood MP Saad Al-Husseiny told Daily News Egypt that the request was filed to PA speaker Fathi Sorour after the government announced its long-term plans to pump around LE 15 billion into the impoverished city.
The MPs say the stated LE 15 billion could take a while to reach the people in need, and so are calling for the immediate allocation of LE 500 million for the people of Gaza.
“This is the least the government can do for the Palestinian people, Al-Husseiny said, highlighting a major shift in Egyptian policy vis-à-vis the Palestinian cause.
Al-Husseiny rejected the notion that Hamas will use these homes to take over Egyptian land.
In February 2008, Hamas supporters crossed through the breached borders into Egypt, raising Hamas flags on the Egyptian side – a controversial gesture which Al-Husseiny justifies as an act “of love and trust in Egypt . They consider Egypt a second home to the Palestinians and they do not have any hidden agendas, he said.
The request to the prime minister lists three more demands, Al-Husseiny said: to make Rafah a free trade zone where Palestinians can buy much needed commodities; to expel the Israeli ambassador and to halt gas exports to Israeli.
Al-Husseiny said that rejecting these requests can only be interpreted as complicity in Israel’s blockade on Gaza.
“Egypt is helping Israel in this war, Al-Husseiny said. Proof of that, he continued, is the “shameful campaign the media launched against Hamas – accusing them of being responsible for this war … and forgetting that Hamas is the one being attacked by the occupation force not the other way round.
He also cited Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni s visit to Egypt one day before the launch of the deadly assaults, which implies Egypt’s support for Israel.
The government also impeded several attempts by opposition groups and NGOs to send vital medical and food supplies to Gaza before the attacks began, Al-Husseiny claims.
While he admits that Egypt has now become more “moderate in its dealing with the war, it still needs to take a stronger stance and support Palestine until their land is free of occupation.
Al-Husseiny considers the Gaza assaults to be attacks on Egypt s national security and on the Arab world as a whole.
“The Egyptian government is dealing with the Palestinians – including Hamas – as if they are from a foreign country, not from the country they have supported for more than 50 years, Al-Husseiny added.