An Airstrike kills two Palestinians on the border of Gaza-Egypt.

On the morning of February 9th, an explosion killed two Palestinians and left five wounded on a smuggling tunnel between the Egypt-Gaza border. The origin of the airstrike is a question, Palestinian officials said that the explosion was caused by an Israeli airstrike, but the Israeli army denied any involvement in the incident.

Gaza’s health ministry spokesman, Ashraf al-Qidra (also known as Ashraf al-Qedra), has pointed out that the aim of the attack was the tunnel that unifies the city of Gaza and Rafah. The tunnel is normally used as a way to pass products between Gaza and Egypt. It has become an important means for transports and exchange of armament and basic resources to survive. The huge tensions in the border have caused that more than 2 million Palestinians in Gaza are still living since 2014 under a military blockade.

Ashraf al-Qidra said that the two men were “martyred and five other people were wounded as a result of being targeted by the Israeli warplane along the Palestinian-Egyptian borders”. According to Al-Qidra, the Two Palestinian victims have been identified as Hossam Al-Sufi, 24, from the town of Rafah, and Mohammed al-Aqra, 38, resident of Gaza City.

Some witnesses said that they saw an Israeli airplane threw a missile against the entry of the tunnel on the bounder, but the Israeli army denied having carried on these attacks. The facts happened a few hours after the draw of several rockets on Wednesday night from the Sinai city, Egypt, that is between the border of the East side of Israel and Gaza, Palestine.

The Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights has expressed their concern that Israel could be starting a high-scale military offensive. Also, the non-governmental organization has prayed to the international community to “act promptly against Israel’s military escalation, to fulfill their obligations to protect civilians, and ensure respect for the rules of international law,” claiming that “acting before a full-scale military bombardment is launched is crucial to ensuring the protection of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.”

The idea of building the tunnels comes from Hamas, who decided to build this grid of tunnels in order to support the Gaza strip. They built two kinds of tunnels: on the one hand, the one used by the Gaza strip and another one used to infiltrate Israel. The first category allows the terrorists of Gaza to hide their weapons, their commander center and their launching rockets ramps underground. The second one was made in order to kidnap and kill civilians from Israel.

In the past years, Egypt has destroyed more than 2,000 tunnels that provides basic resources to more than 2 million Gaza citizens. Also, Tamer al-Rifai, the Egyptian army spokesman, stated that in the past two months the Egyptian army has destroyed and uncovered six tunnels at the border between Gaza and the North Sinai, Egypt.

Angela Cantero, Alejandra Torres and Marie Camacho. 

Egypt, divided between the former regime and Islamism.

“An Islamist and a former member of the Mubarak regime attend the second round of the presidential elections of Egypt. No candidate has obtained an absolute majority, so call second round.”

The campaign for the second round of the presidential (16 and 17 June) runs the risk of polarizing the country between Islamist unknown future or return to the past of Mubarak’s regime. Egypt citizens will have to choose between Mohamed Morsi, candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Ahmed Shafiq, former general.Image

In the background continues commanding the armed forces Supreme Council which has pledged to leave power, what remains to be seen. The losers of the first round of the presidential Egyptian are prompting from Cairo Tahrir square, the revolution that brought down to Mubarak.

They are not the results that the West, and many Egyptians, hoped. Although, not for that reason cease to be less democratic. The Arab spring is not bringing European style democracies, but the triumph of the Islamists.

The Islamist Mohamed Mursi boasts the great machinery of his group, the Muslim Brotherhood, to convince the Egyptians that may be the future President of the country. In this first round he received especially the support of the supporters of the old regime. But also he championed many Egyptians tired of the instability that the country after the fall of Mubarak. In fact, the own Shafik is presented as a strong man can restore security, and why now, calls for vote to the laity and the revolutionaries who managed to the fall of the regime to which he himself belonged.

The President of the Freedom Party and Justice, political arm of the brotherhood, use the Islamic rebirth of Egypt as the main argument to capture the votes of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the undecided in the poorest areas. Being a man of the apparatus of the Muslim Brotherhood has been its main asset but also its weak point which some sectors fear that a single party controls Parliament, the Government and the Presidency as it was the case at the time of Mubarak.

The pass to the second round of two competing candidates, and they generate a huge polarization in the electorate, anticipates three weeks of high tension in Egypt. According to the road map of the military Junta which administers the country following the resignation of Mubarak, presidential elections are the last stage of a troubled phase of transition. Next June 30, is expected that the Board give their powers to President-elect.

As the formation of the constituent Assembly is breaking discrepancies between secular and Islamists, it is not clear what will be the powers of the future President. It is expected that in the coming days the military Junta make public a number of amendments to the constitutional statement that governs the country delimiting the powers of the Presidency and the Parliament until the approval of the new Constitution.

Israel loses friends in East Asia

The state Egyptian natural gas company EGAS has cancelled gas supplies to Israel, acting thus in discordance to the 2005 political agreement signed between Egypt and Israel. Why is Egypt isolating Israel?

 Israel has lost a big quantity of gas supplies owe to that the East Mediterranean Gas just broke an agreement, made in 2005, regarding this issue. That year the EMG signed a deal with IEC –Israel Electric Corporation– of 2.500 million dollars (about 1.891 million Euros), in which Cairo promised to give 7.000 million cubic meter of Egyptian gas to the Israeli market, representing natural gas supply for 15 years, with changes accepted.

The news on this split-up gas supply has dropped as a bomb on Israeli news agencies. Several Israeli analysts consider that this cut of energy supply is due to an Egyptian political and economic instability.

Some Israeli politicians express a “defensive” point of view with the purpose of calming the world’s audience, fearing of further disputes between the two countries: “The unilateral cancellation of the agreement is not a good sign. And we hope that this dispute is resolved like any other commercial disputes, without having a political consequences” said the Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman during his visit in Azerbaijan. This argument is echoed by Israeli prime minister, who states that this is a commercial matter, as well as by the chairman of Egyptian company EGAS, Mohamed Shoeib: “It is a trade dispute not a political issue”. But how can we know that this issue is kept only under commercial terms?

There have been numerous sabotages and attacks, more precisely 14, in the last year. Attacks directed at the pipelines from Egypt to Israel by protest groups, which demonstrated against a supposed Israeli “political marginalization”. The head of the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company mentioned that the contract terminated hence Israel’s violations of contractual obligations, a statement considered as an overshadow of the peace agreement between the two countries. Security means had to be reinforced as a consequence of the conflict emerged between the two nations.

Until now, Israel has made great profit of energetic agreements made with Egypt; the country received a 40% of their energy consumption for their own use. During almost 7 years, since the natural gas deal, Israel made a great profit from Egypt’s energetic supplies. This period of time coincides with the Mubarak era. But since last Thursday, the 19th of April 2012, the 15-years planned pact broke in a brusque way.

This concern mainly implies peaceful principles withIsraelthat have been ignored. The 2005 signed agreement acted as a symbol of Egyptian-Israeli good relations, which is of great relevancy bearing in mind that Egypt is the only country, together with Jordan, that has signed a peace treaty with Israel (in 1979, followed by Jordan in 1994). Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz declared that the suspension of energetic supply was of “great concern”, arguing that it had placed “a dangerous precedent which casts a shadow on the peace agreements and the peaceful atmosphere betweenEgyptandIsrael”.

Israelis losing friends inEast Asia. Since the 1950s,Israel’s foreign policy had received strategic depth from regional alliances. The Egyptian cut on energetic supply will entail thatIsraelfinds it difficult to find countries to rely on in this region. Last year, Israel watched its alliance with Turkey collapse. Diplomatic relations with theUnited Statesare too weak andAmericais far away in geographical terms, which entails bad cooperation techniques in this manner. From now on, it will be hard for Israel to trust an Egyptian government currently damaged by internal conflicts. The evaporation of power of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s government, which is in a way definitely a positive change, leaves Israel in a state of strategic trouble. WithoutMubarak,Israelis left with almost no friends in theMiddle East.

But, as Sancho Panza says in the Chapter X of the Second Part of “Don Quijote de la Mancha”, “there is a solution for everything, if not death, under whose yoke we will lie all at the end of our lives”; and there is also prompted alternative for Israel’s alliances in East Asia: “From the Egypt’s point of view there are no objections to reaching a new agreement with new conditions and a new price”, as the Minister for International Cooperation Fayza Abul Naga told reporters.

Angela Gutierres Moreno,
Danira Milosevic,
Linn Andersson &
Jesus Alcantara Landa