Little help from Gaza’s southern front

The last time Israel waged all-out war on Hamas in 2012, Egypt brokered the ceasefire that ended it. Under former President Mohamed Morsi, fraternal relations with Hamas, a fellow Muslim Brotherhood alum, got even warmer.

But this time, as the Gaza crisis has escalated, the new Egyptian government has shied away from a mediating role. The cautious response to the Gaza crisis by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is a balancing act between its desire to see Israel weaken Hamas without risking its own border security and street-level anger in Egypt over a policy seen as favoring Israel.

So far, Egypt’s humanitarian response has been tepid: The Rafah border has been opened for a limited number of ambulances. Egyptian doctors waiting on stand-by in the nearest hospital to the border say Gaza’s health ministry has sent fewer cases than expected. “As medical professionals, we stay out of the politics,” says hospital director Dr Sami Anwar. “We are ready to do our best.”

Meanwhile in Gaza’s hospitals, the situation has grown dire – at least five health facilities have been damaged by airstrikes in their vicinities, and there are severe shortages of medical supplies, according to the United Nations. The Shifa hospital, close to the Egyptian border, said its morgue was full.

[Christian Science Monitor]

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