Socialist Worker

Palestinian liberation is ingrained into the Egyptian revolution

by Wassim Wagdy
Issue No. 2412

Egyptians with the Palestinian flag in 2011

Palestinian flag in Tahrir Square in 2011 (Pic: Gigi Ibrahim)


The liberation of Palestine has always been ingrained in the Egyptian revolution’s DNA. 

The revolution began with three main slogans. “Bread, Freedom and Social Justice” was the first. We borrowed the second one from the Tunisian revolution—“The people want the fall of the regime”. But the third we learnt from the Palestinians—“Revolution until Victory”.

The Palestinians are mistreated and abused not only by Israel, but also by all the Arab regimes. 

This is because they are rightly considered to be carriers of a virus. That virus is called revolution. Palestine has the potential of fermenting solidarity movements and opposition to the region’s regimes. 

The link between the oppression and exploitation of the Egyptian masses and the dispossession and oppression of Palestinians is clear and direct. When people go on solidarity marches, they are beaten up by the same regimes that have made peace with Israel and abuse and mistreat the Palestinians

Every solidarity movement, demo or protest that I’ve been on has started with calls for “Freedom for Palestine” and ended with “Down, down with Hosni Mubarak”. 

Many consider the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000 to be the beginning of the road to the Egyptian revolution. The Mubarak regime was probably the most stable before 2000. There was little opposition in the 1990s.

Yet in the Intifada a generation came out against Mubarak. They learned Palestinian slogans and about Mubarak’s role in their oppression. 

This generation is probably the main generation in the Egyptian revolution. 

No one forgets that Mubarak was described by an Israeli minister as a “strategic treasure”. Why? He had an agreement with Israel that’s still in place now. Egypt exports gas to Israel for 41 pence per million thermal units, while the cost of production is over £1.52.

Blockade

The Egyptian state is subsidising the energy needs of Israel.

Israel has blockaded Gaza since 2006, stopping the supply of medicine and food. This has caused the deaths of many Palestinians. The only exit from Gaza is the Rafah crossing that has been closed by the Egyptian government. It has not just colluded in the blockade of Gaza. It has actively participated in it.

That’s why the Palestinian flag has always been a part of the Egyptian revolution. Its highest point was on a day called the Friday of Correcting the Path of the Revolution on 9 September 2011. 

From that million-strong protest a demonstration went to the Israeli embassy. The Egyptian government had built a fortified cement wall there. But that day thousands went and broke down the fortified wall.

They broke into the embassy and went to the 7th or 8th floor and started throwing out the secret documents.

So that night it snowed in Egypt. It was snowing the secrets of the state.

The Israeli embassy hasn’t been reopened to this day. There is still an Israeli ambassador—but he’s working from home. Liberation cannot be reached through the Arab ruling classes. 

When the Muslim Brotherhood was in opposition one of the main slogans on Palestine was “We are going to go to Jerusalem in our millions”.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi proved his value to the US ruling class during his year as president. He was a better negotiator between Israel and Hamas than Mubarak. He wanted to be a legitimate part of the Arab regional system. 

We now have to show as much solidarity as possible.In Egypt a convoy is being organised to go and break the siege of Gaza. And hundreds have protested for Palestine in Cairo—despite the regime’s law against protests.

We are witnessing the fact that solidarity with Palestine immediately equals opposition to our regimes.

Wassim is an Egyptian revolutionary socialist currently living in Britain

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