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Palestinians Notably Quiet on Egypt Chaos

Thursday, 03 February 2011 11:42 AM

JERUSALEM – Cries for President Hosni Mubarak's ouster in Egypt are being echoed in Jordan with antigovernment protests and a "day of rage" planned for Syria this Friday. But in the Palestinian territories, it's the silence that is most notable, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

Part of that quiet is due to a rare common effort from the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip to suppress vocal support for Egyptian protesters. Both sides dispersed solidarity demonstrations that were planned for last Sunday and Monday.

The PA and Hamas both maintain close ties with the Egyptian government. Mr. Mubarak has been a key supporter in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that have involved the PA. Although Egypt has helped maintain the blockade on the Gaza Strip, Mubarak also turned a blind eye to the brisk tunnel trade under the Gazan-Egyptian border, and has allowed aid into the strip. Further, Mubarak has attempted to mend the rift between the Gaza-based Hamas and Fatah, which rules the West Bank.

"[The Gazans] don’t want to get into a bad relationship with the Egyptian regime," says Sameeh Hammoudeh, a political scientist at Birzeit University. "Egypt can really harm them if they close the border, if they close everything and prevent the Gazans from getting what they need through the tunnels in Sinai."

Still, there have been some calls online for Egyptian-like protests in Gaza, where more than 7,000 people have joined a Facebook page calling for an anti-Hamas rally planned for Feb. 11. Another 1,100 people have joined a page "Against the corrupt Zionist Fatah government."

Read the entire story at csmonitor.com

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Thursday, 03 February 2011 11:42 AM
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