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Egyptian state continues crackdown on Palestine solidarity in light of ICJ case

The Egyptian state proclaimed yesterday it would formally join South Africa’s case against Israel in front of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which accuses Israel of committing acts of genocide in Gaza.

Egyptian officials said that this move comes as a reaction to the increased number of Palestinian civilians killed in Gaza. 

Al Jazeera cites the former director of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alon Liel, as saying that this move is an “unbelievable diplomatic blow to Israel” and that “Egypt is the cornerstone of our standing in the Middle East.” The very connection that the Zionist entity has to other countries in the region, from Jordan to the UAE to Morocco is all “a result of what Egypt did 40 years ago.”

Egypt has been the staunchest ally of the Zionist entity in the region since the 1979 “Peace Treaty” signed by then president Anwar Sadat. Although the Egyptian state’s move now may seem like an attack against Israel on a legalistic level, in reality, Egypt has not changed any of its politics towards Israel. After over seven months of the ongoing genocide in Gaza, there have been many cases of the Israeli military bombing the Rafah border, with blasts reaching Egyptian state territory. Egypt has not been sovereign over its borders with the Gaza Strip as it has relied on orders from Israel on how much humanitarian aid, if at all, is allowed to pass through to Gaza. 

Over 40,000 Palestinians have been slaughtered in Gaza since October 2023, making the Egyptian state’s argument that the move is a reaction to an increased number of civilian deaths questionable. As the world community can no longer deny what is happening in Gaza and even German politicians have voiced fear of being brought to court for aiding and abetting genocide, it seems that this move by the Egyptian military dictatorship comes as a reaction to mounting pressure and fear of uprisings from within. It is internal unrest that Sisi’s military regime fears most. And with the country’s worsening economic and political situation, the regime fears a tipping point. Additionally, the Egyptian regime knows that the vast majority of the population is in solidarity with Palestine, meaning that the spontaneity of the masses could rise at any given moment. 

Therefore, while the Egyptian state has said it is formally joining South Africa’s ICJ case, it continues to use brutal force against dissidents within the country. Most recently last week with the arrest of two students for their solidarity with Palestine. Ziyad Basiouni and Mazen Ahmed were arrested by security forces in the Cairo and Mansoura Governorates respectively. Their whereabouts are still unknown. Ziyad had posted on Facebook calling for a student movement for Palestine and support for a boycott.

In addition, the regime renewed the pretrial detention of six Alexandrian youths, who were arrested in April on charges of raising a banner in solidarity with Palestine. 

Hence, while the Egyptian regime perhaps fears that it too could be accused of aiding and abetting genocide in Gaza and therefore tactically chose to join South Africa’s ICJ case, it has not only sat by idly while Israel commits genocide on its borders for over seven months. The Egyptian state has factually allowed the slaughter in Gaza to continue wile simultaneously brutally cracking down on Palestine solidarity within its own borders.