Does intelligence equal security? I’ve heard the two terms used interchangeably among Egyptian officials who are considering whether Lora Lucero should be allowed to return to Gaza.
“The intelligence office must review your papers.” “We will hear back from security in 10-15 days.” “Everyone must be checked and approved by security.” “We sent your request on to intelligence.”
I pressed on, requesting the procedures in writing. Nothing is available.
I can certainly understand why they would want to know who is entering Egypt, but why must people be checked when they are leaving Egypt? The stock answer to all of my questions was — “Those are the rules.”
Eventually, after many questions, the Ambassador in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged that Gaza is “OCCUPIED.” There, she said it. Gaza, and more accurately, the Palestinians living in Gaza, are occupied. They are prisoners living in a prison, working in a prison, going to school in a prison. And far too many are dying in prison without ever seeing the light of day.
No one gets in or out of prison without the jailers knowing.
Most Westerners castigate Israel as the brutal Occupier who violates the basic human rights of Palestinians with impunity. Egypt is clearly a jailer too and I think the world should recognize Egypt’s complicity in this atrocity.
The Arab Spring Revolution in Tahrir Square has not liberated the Palestinians from their Egyptian jailers. The Rafah border gate remains locked down, keeping people in or out, unless the intelligence/security gurus wave their magic wands to let you pass.
For me, it may only be a question of time and aggravation before I am allowed to return to Gaza.
For Palestinians, it is an insult to their dignity and their self-esteem to be held at the mercy of jailers (whether Israelis or Egyptians) who may/or may not/ deem their application for travel worthy of approval. My young (under 40) male friends in Gaza will not be allowed out except under very special circumstances. Only in Gaza are males looking forward to turning 40.
In Egypt, security and intelligence are the official buzzwords for control. Egyptian officials are doing Israel’s bidding, without questioning, because those are the rules. What President Morsi and his administration need to ask – “Are we truly intelligent or merely Israel’s puppet-fools?” “Do these rules enhance our security or make us complicit in this Occupation?”