Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit says his nation will not stop its efforts to broker a new truce between Hamas and the Israeli government, but admits “I cannot imagine that we can convince the two sides to go back to the calm.” Indeed, the escalation of both actions and rhetoric on both sides suggests war is all but inevitable at this point.
The war is bad news for the residents of Gaza, bad news for Israelis living in the area around Gaza, but often overlooked is its consequence to Egypt. Under growing pressure domestically and internationally to do something about the humanitarian crisis in neighboring Gaza, the Egyptian government has stayed firm, allowing aid into the strip with even less regularity than the Israeli government. If the war gets particularly bloody, as it seems liable to, the Egyptian government is poised to pay a serious political price.
Likely hoping to provide some cover from the impending criticisms, President Hosni Mubarak urged Israel to exercise restraint in their response and not engage in collective punishment. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni dismissed Mubarak’s concerns, saying Israel didn’t need Egyptian approval to invade Gaza, and insisting the planned invasion was “an expression of the needs of the region.”