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Egypt & Michael Corleone

By Michael Freund
2/12/2008, 12:00 AM


this rather undiplomatic outburst by Egypt's top diplomat is in fact quite revealing. It demonstrates just how empty Cairo's professed concern for the welfare of Gaza's Palestinians truly is.
This past week the world was given a glimpse, however fleeting, of the true nature of Arab solidarity and brotherhood.

In an interview on Egyptian television, Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said that Cairo would no longer tolerate Palestinians crossing illegally into Sinai from Gaza, as hundreds of thousands did just last month seeking food and other supplies.

Sounding like a member of the Corleone family in The Godfather trilogy of films, Gheit stated that, "Anyone who breaches the border will have their legs broken".

Talk about laying out a welcome mat for tourists.

But this rather undiplomatic outburst by Egypt's top diplomat is in fact quite revealing. It demonstrates just how empty Cairo's professed concern for the welfare of Gaza's Palestinians truly is.

For all their talk about the humanitarian crisis in the area, when push comes to shove, Egypt would much rather push and shove the problem away.

Indeed, it brings to mind a scene from Fiddler on the Roof, when the rabbi of Anatevka is asked if there is a blessing to be said for the hated Russian czar. Of course, responds the sage, declaring, "May G-d bless and keep the Czar…. far away from us."

Needless to say, Gheit's street-thug remarks were met with pure and utter silence, and failed to elicit even a peep of protest from the international community.

Imagine what would have happened had an Israeli official used similar language? Well, 20 years ago, then-Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin reportedly instructed the IDF to "break the bones" of Palestinian terrorists in the intifada, and they're still talking about it.

The contrast speaks for itself.