Several hundred Lebanese protesters gathered outside the Egyptian Embassy in Beirut on Sunday, calling on the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to immediately cease construction of a border wall between Egypt and Gaza that goes 20 feet underground.The underground portion of the Wall could prevent the Palestinians in Gaza from tunneling underneath the Gaza-Egypt border to bring in much-needed supplies which have been prevented from entering by the Israeli-imposed siege.
The 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza have lived under siege in what the population has called ‘the largest open-air prison on earth’ since 2007, when Israel sealed the borders of the Gaza Strip in order to impose ‘siege warfare’ against the entire population of Gaza – a type of warfare that is banned under international law, as it inordinately affects civilian populations.
Egyptian officials have tried to justify the Wall they are constructing along the border by saying that it is for Egypt’s ‘national security, although no attacks against Egypt have been documented from the tunnels.
Protesters at Sunday’s rally in Beirut burned Israeli and US flags, including Israeli flags bearing the face of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. According to media sources, the protesters called Mubarak an ‘agent for Israel’, and held signs showing Mubarak with the Israeli flag on his forehead.
The protesters also held banners showing the Egyptian President along with the words “At your service, USA”, implying that Mubarak is acting for US interests in the region, rather than Egypt’s own national interest or the interest of Arab pan-nationalism.
Egypt receives over $2 billion a year in aid money from the US, second only to the state of Israel, which receives $6 billion in direct aid and loan guarantees (which do not have to be paid back).
The Egyptian government’s recent crackdown on an international humanitarian aid caravan and a solidarity march into Gaza has led many critics to say that the Egyptian government is enforcing the US and Israeli political agenda toward Gaza in order not to jeopardize it’s yearly aid money from the US.