Though the Egyptian government’s change in policy toward Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip has mostly been rhetorical, the obligation of an elected government to avoid angering its own population too much has made a meaningful change on the ground.
That’s because while Egypt’s government is mostly still just playing the role of facilitator for ceasefire negotiations, civilians are taking a more pro-active role, with some 500 of them marching into Gaza today with medical supplies for the tiny enclave’s overwhelmed hospitals.
This would have been unthinkable during the 2006 Israeli attack on Gaza, or the 2008 Israeli attack on Gaza, when the Mubarak regime was cheerfully cooperating with a total Israeli embargo on supplies.
Gaza’s hospitals have been poorly supplies for years, and were woefully unprepared for the massive number of casualties the war has brought. With Egyptian aid flowing, it is possible that the percentage of wounded civilians who survive will be much greater this time.