A press conference organised by a number of political forces in Cairo was held late Wednesday to affirm support to the Palestinian resistance against Israel and to voice disapproval over the truce suggested by Egypt.
"The press conference today represents the true and official popular stance in Egypt, unlike the disappointing proposal that accused resistance forces in Palestine of practicing counter-violence in addition to equating between them and Israel," said Zizo Abdo, spokesman of the Committee to Defend the Aggrieved and the Journalists Syndicate’s Freedoms Committee.
On Monday, Egypt issued a proposal for a ceasefire following a week of violent Israeli assaults on the besieged Gaza Strip which by Wednesday have claimed the lives of over 213 Palestinians. The proposal, immediately endorsed by Israel, was criticised by many factions in Palestine, and officially rejected by Gaza rulers’ Hamas, for being arguably unjust as it holds both sides equally responsible for the fighting and the killing.
Rockets fired by Hamas on Tel Aviv have caused the death of one Israeli.
Revolutionary Socialist and prominent labour activist Haitham Moamadeen accused the Egyptian proposal of only being concerned with "protecting Israel’s security."
According to head of Egypt Freedom Party Amr Hamzawy, instead of holding talks with Israel - which he says "has never stopped from carrying out attacks on Palestinians" - the priority should be the immediate and unconditional opening of the Rafah crossing - of which Egypt has restricting opening for emergency cases only, further worsening an already-enforced Israeli besiege on the Palestinian enclave.
"The rulers of Egypt must open the crossing which has exposed Palestinians in Gaza to a slow death, other than the fast death they’re going through at the hands of Israel," he added.
Gaza not Hamas
In reference to the strained relations between Egypt and Hamas, which soured following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year, Hamzawy stressed that political disputes - "most of which are either fabricated or flawed" - cannot be usurped by Egypt and the Arab world, affirming that the truth must be clear that there is an Israeli assault and that there are Palestinian victims.
Officials in Egypt have accused Hamas of "interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs". A court order in March banned the Islamist movement's activities in Egypt, pending a court verdict in an espionage case involving Morsi and Hamas members.
"Those who speak about Hamas are either traitors or naïve, the main issue is Palestine," said political activist Ahmed Harara, who warned against following a media campaign which has placed the focus on Hamas and thus overshadowed the assaults on Palestinians.
Several media figures have adressed Hamas in articles and TV appearances as the one to be held accountable for the blood-shed in Gaza. Their comments were featured in Israeli media as a sign of supporting Israel.
Addressing the Egyptian government, Mohamed Bassiouny, secretary-general of the Nasserist Al-Karama Party, stressed that "Gaza is not Hamas" but rather "an issue of Egyptian national security". He added that those who are dying in Gaza are defending the honour and dignity of Cairo and the Arab world.
"Those who attack factions of the [Palestinian] resistance, besiege them or call them terrorists are practically siding with the Zionist entity," said Mohamadeen, calling on political forces to join ranks to fight both private and public media, which he accused of inciting against Palestinians and their resistance.
Israel a common enemy
Speakers at the press conference also stressed the need of awakening pro-Palestinian and anti-Zonist movements in Egypt, which have been significantly on hold and distracted by over three years of internal political turmoil.
"We’ve been concerned with the internal Egyptian situation - that it has distracted us for a while - but we must work on building a movement against normalisation [with Israel]. We must regain campaigns of boycotts against Israeli products and the American ones that support Israel," said Bassiouny, who further called for the severing of all diplomatic ties between Arab states and Israel.
For his part, Mohamadeen stressed that there is a need to revive certain fundamentals which he says are being fought against by Israel.
"First of all, it is not called the Israel-Gaza war, it is called the Arab-Zionist struggle," he said, adding that these fundamentals include that "we will never be enemies with whoever fights the Zionist entity".
Where to go from here?
During his speech, Harara - an icon of the 25 January 2011 revolution who was blinded in both eyes during separate clashes between protesters and police that year - gave his apologies to the Palestinian people and expressed his frustration that every tragedy in Gaza has only been met with "condemnation" and a convoy that activists hope might be allowed through the borders.
"The time has come for a third intifada (uprising), putting an end to the futility called 'negotiations.' Two decades of futile negotiations while assaults have been continuous on Gaza and the West Bank and the continuous construction of settlements," Hamzawy also said earlier at the conference.
Organisers of the press conference included the Strong Egypt Party, the Egyptian Popular Current, the Way of the Revolution Front and the Constitution Party.
Political forces say details on a Gaza-bound aid convoy which has managed to collect over 2 tonnes of medicine will be released soon.