by Bret Stephens, columnist email@example.com
No wonder liberal Egyptians are reacting with near-hysterical alarm to last Wednesday's demolition of the border fence between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai. The Brotherhood organized at least 70 demonstrations throughout
As Middle Eastern power plays go, Hamas's decision to dismantle the Gaza-Sinai border was a masterstroke.
Above all, Hamas exploited the myth of pan-Arab solidarity with the Palestinians in order to explode it. Having whipped itself into its usual frenzy over Israel's "siege" of Gaza, it was a delicate matter for the state-run Egyptian press to make the government's case for deploying truncheon-wielding police to turn back the Palestinian human tide. It's an equally delicate matter for the Egyptian government to arrest Brotherhood protesters peacefully demonstrating "for
For Palestinians who have spent squalid decades in the refugee camps of Lebanon (which forbids Palestinians from owning property or having any sort of gainful employment), or have been systematically abused as laborers in the Gulf sheikdoms (Kuwait expelled its Palestinian population en masse following its 1991 liberation from Iraq), or have had a country denied to them by a Hashemite regime in Jordan, the lies of the Arab world are well known.
Still, it must have seemed to Palestinians an especially galling contrast that
For the Brotherhood all this is excellent news. Yesterday, Nabil Shaath, a Palestinian minister in President Mahmoud Abbas's cabinet, reportedly sought a meeting in
By contrast, the Egyptian government faces a serious quandary, and not just as a matter of rhetoric. By its treaty with
The Egyptian-Israeli treaty may ultimately have to be revised to take account of the changing facts on the ground.
Who and what comes next is anyone's guess, though it would be foolish to gamble on Gamal Mubarak, the president's West-leaning son.
A more serious question is whether the military might take a more indulgent view of the Brotherhood, either because it has been infiltrated by Islamist officers, or because it seeks a condominium with the Brotherhood in order to shore up its own legitimacy. (In this connection,
In the meantime, the border with
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