Now the World Fiddles as Gaza Cries
Once more, Gaza’s border is in flames.
Civilians are being evicted from their homes, a curfew has been imposed, and a crossing that enables Gazans to leave has been closed. Yet the world is silent. Isn’t that strange?
Hundreds of residents along one of Gaza’s borders have suddenly been ordered to evacuate, on just two days’ notice. Their homes are to be demolished. There is no talk of compensation. Why isn’t the United Nations Security Council denouncing this outrage?
Because it is Egypt, and not Israel, that is doing the evicting. (See the New York Times, October 28 edition.)
The Egyptians have decided they need a buffer zone along their border with Gaza. They don’t trust the Hamas regime, which they say has been assisting terrorists who have been attacking Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai. Apparently Cairo does not accept the Obama Administration scripted fiction that the new Hamas-PA government is run by “technocrats.” Egypt understands that a Hamas-appointed “technocrat” is, first and foremost, a functionary of Hamas.
So the bulldozers are rumbling in Rafah. As a result of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of 1979, the city of Rafah was split in half. Part of it is on the Gaza side of the border. Residents in the “Egyptian” part of town are now being evicted willy-nilly, in order to make room for a buffer zone that will be nine miles long, and with water-filled trenches that will be more than 500 yards wide — that’s half a kilometer, or five football fields.
Yet nary a word of protest from the White House, nor any suggestion of delaying any U.S. arms deliveries to Egypt.
That’s not all. In response to the recent attacks in Sinai, the Egyptians have imposed a dawn-to-dusk curfew all along the Egypt-Gaza border. In other words, no resident of Rafah can leave his or her home after dark, for any reason.
Yet Thomas Friedman has not written any columns in the New York Times with heart-rending stories about Rafah women being forced to give birth in unsanitary conditions because they can’t travel to the local hospital after sundown.
Egypt has also shut down the only crossing along the Egyptian side of the Gaza border. With the passageway closed, no Gazan can get out.
So where are the snarky political cartoonists depicting Gaza as a Holocaust-era ghetto? Nor is Secretary of State John Kerry warning of Egypt becoming ostracized and isolated in the world. Western academics are not threatening to boycott their Egyptian counterparts. J Street is not lobbying for U.S. intervention against this new assault on Arab civilians.
Could the hypocrisy of the international community be any more blatant?
Evidently, if they genuinely cared about the well-being of the residents of Rafah, the White House would be holding up arms to Egypt — exactly as it held up Hellfire missiles to Israel. If he were sincerely concerned about Arab lives, Thomas Friedman would be blasting the Egyptians on the op-ed page of the New York Times. If they truly wanted to help the evacuees, J Street’s lobbyists would be working overtime to get the Obama Administration to intervene against Cairo.
But the truth is that they don’t really care about the welfare of Arab civilians at all, unless there is an opportunity to bash Israel. When Arabs are mistreated by their fellow-Arabs, the State Department and the pundits and the “peace camp” fall silent.
So let’s all learn an important lesson from this experience. Israel and its supporters should stop worrying about the latest Thomas Friedman diatribe or the latest J Street conference or the latest unfriendly remarks by the Obama White House and the State Department. They will go on blaming Israel — and excusing Egypt and other Arab countries — no matter what. Nothing Israel does will ever satisfy them — so there’s no point in trying.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Egyptian evacuations were taking place on the Gazan side of the Rafah border.
Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn are members of the board of the Religious Zionists of America.