Egypt Opens Border with Gaza

| by The Volokh Conspiracy

By David Bernstein

I’m not going to discuss the moral, legal, or diplomatic implications of this move. But I do recall (though I don’t have links handy) that various “human rights” activists have been claiming since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza that Israel was nevertheless “occupying” it via a blockade. Moreover, even if the blockade didn’t amount to an occupation it was immoral, illegal, and so forth.

When asked why they leveled so much criticism at Israel for the blockade, but almost none at Egypt, which was also blockading Gaza, the only coherent answer that was forthcoming was that Israel was somehow making Egypt enforce the blockade. The sensible response was that Israel can’t “make” Egypt do anything, and that Egypt enforced the blockade because Egypt thought it was in its own interest to do so.

Now that Egypt has ended the blockade, we can definitively say that the sensible response was correct. The current Egyptian government has apparently decided that its strategic interest in containing Hamas is secondary to the public opinion brownie points it will receive for easing the Palestinians’ plight–not to mention that the policy wasn’t very effect at containing Hamas.

It would be nice to think that our friendly neighborhood human rights activists will now admit they were wrong, that Egyptian policy re Gaza wasn’t somewhat being secretly controlled by Israel, and that more public pressure on Egypt, instead of myopically focusing on Israel, might have ended the blockade sooner. But I’m guessing that we will see exactly zero such admissions, because it would amount to admitting the unhealthy and unjustified obsession with Israel that if prevalent in “human rights” NGO circles.