Translations of this item:

  • This is precisely what Egypt and the Arab counties want: to turn the Gaza Strip into an Israeli, and not an Arab, problem.

  • There is good reason to believe that the Arabs are not going to change their attitudes toward the Palestinians once a Palestinian state is established. The future Palestinian state will have to continue relying on Israeli and Western aid in order to survive.

  • And if Israel and the West do not come to their assistance, the Palestinians will find themselves begging at the doorsteps of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State. Then, the Palestinian state will be anything but a source of stability in the Middle East.

The Palestinians know very well that if and when they have a state of their own, they will never be able to rely on their Arab brethren.

The Arab countries have a long record of turning their backs on the Palestinians, not only with regard to financial aid promises, but even when it comes to basic needs such as medical treatment.

But what will happen after the creation of a Palestinian state? Palestinians say they do not have high expectations that the Arab countries will help them build their state.

Today, it is much easier for Palestinians to receive medical treatment in Israel, Turkey and Germany than in most of the Arab countries.

The tragic case of Razan al-Halkawi, an 11-year-old girl from the Gaza Strip, serves as another reminder of the Arab "betrayal" of the Palestinians.

Al-Halkawi, who has been ill for the past few months, died this week after Egyptian authorities refused to allow her to enter their country for medical treatment.

She and hundreds of Palestinian patients have been unable to leave the Gaza Strip due to the continued closure of the Rafah border crossing. The Egyptian authorities closed the terminal about a month ago after a terror attack in Sinai that claimed the lives of 30 soldiers.

One day after the girl from the Gaza Strip passed away, the Egyptians finally reopened the border crossing for only two days to allow stranded Palestinians on the Egyptian side to return home. Thousands of Palestinians have been waiting for the past four months for the Egyptians to reopen the terminal so that they could enter the Gaza Strip.

Speaking to reporters upon their return to the Gaza Strip, some of the Palestinians voiced outrage over their mistreatment at the hands of the Egyptians.

"The rockets that were falling on us were easier for us than the treatment of the Egyptians," one woman said.

Another woman, Hind Shaheen, said she left the Gaza Strip several months ago to receive medical treatment for cancer. She had been forced to wait for the past 40 days at the Egyptians side of the border before returning home. During this time, she was deprived of the medical treatment she needs for her cancer.

Shaheen said that the stranded Palestinians were left by the Egyptians without food, money or water.

"The situation there is very serious," she added, referring to the Egyptian aide of the border. "People were more afraid there than they were during the last war in the Gaza Strip. The Egyptians want the Palestinians to die."

Others said they were subjected to strict restrictions, including night curfews. "The Egyptians treated each one of us as if we were terrorists," said an elderly man who was among the lucky ones allowed to cross the border back into the Gaza Strip.

But for the little girl from the Gaza Strip who passed way this week, the partial reopening of the Rafah border crossing came too late.

Her relatives say that tensions between Hamas and Fatah also denied her the chance to receive medical treatment in an Israeli hospital. They claim that the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah turned down a request from Hamas to intervene with Israeli authorities to issue a permit for al-Halkawi to be admitted to an Israeli hospital.

Many other cancer patients from the Gaza Strip are likely to meet the same fate as the little girl due to Egypt's continued closure of the Rafah border crossing and ongoing tensions between Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction and Hamas. They are also victims of long-term emotional detachment and apathy of the Arabs toward their Palestinian brethren.

While the Egyptians continue to seal off their border with the Gaza Strip, Israel has become the only hope for the 1.7 million Palestinians living there.

In the period between November 18 and 23, some 2,966 crossed the Erez border crossing with Israel in both directions, according to the Israeli Ministry of Defense's Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories.

The Erez border crossing between Israel and Gaza. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

In addition, some 1,490 trucks carrying thousands of tons of goods entered the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom terminal along the border with Israel during the same period. The goods consisted of food, construction materials, input for agriculture and medicine products.

How many Arab trucks loaded with goods entered the Gaza Strip over the past month? None.

This is precisely what Egypt and the rest of the Arab countries want: to turn the Gaza Strip into an Israeli, and not Arab, problem.

There is good reason to believe that the Arabs are not going to change their attitude toward the Palestinians once a Palestinian state is established. The future Palestinian state will have to continue relying on Israeli and Western aid in order to survive.

And if Israel and the West do not come to their assistance, the Palestinians will find themselves begging at the doorsteps of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. Then, the future Palestinian state will be anything but a source of stability in the Middle East.

  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

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