By Khaled Abu Toameh, JPost—
Scenes of dozens of Egyptian bulldozers, cranes and trucks entering the Gaza Strip last Friday have left some Palestinians wondering whether Egypt is planning to return to the coastal enclave it ruled between 1948 and 1967.
The Egyptian decision to send building equipment and engineers to the Gaza Strip came within the context of Cairo’s pledge to contribute to reconstruction efforts there after the recent fighting between Israel and Hamas.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has pledged $500 million to help rebuild the houses and buildings that were destroyed during the fighting.
The presence of the Egyptian construction teams in the Gaza Strip means that Hamas and other Palestinian factions will not be able to resume the rocket attacks on Israel, Palestinian sources told The Jerusalem Post.
“It will be hard for Hamas to initiate another round of fighting with Israel when there are many Egyptians inside the Gaza Strip,” one of the sources said. “If Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad start firing rockets at Israel while the Egyptian construction teams are working in the Gaza Strip, the two groups will get into trouble with Egypt.”
According to the sources, the Egyptians have warned Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar against initiating another round of fighting while Cairo pursues its efforts to help rebuild the Gaza Strip.
During the 1948 War of Independence, the Arab League established the “All-Palestine Government” to govern the Egyptian-controlled Gaza Strip. Palestinians living in the enclave were issued “All-Palestine” passports. Egypt did not offer them citizenship. After the dissolution of the All-Palestine Government in 1959, Egypt continued to control the Gaza Strip until 1967. Continue Reading…