FEATURE-Six months on, Egypt's revolt disappoints Gazans

Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:35pm GMT

* Disappointment at lags in opening Rafah border crossing

* Cairo-sponsored Hamas-Fatah reconciliation on hold

* Egyptians urge Palestinian patience, responsibility

By Nidal Almughrabi

GAZA, July 26 (Reuters) - They had hoped this Ramadan would be different.

But many Palestinians who find themselves again penned into Gaza for the holiday are blaming Egypt, the neighbouring Arab power which, after toppling President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11, had pledged to free up travel across the shared border.

The dismay reflects the misgivings of many Egyptians about the prospects for reform under Cairo's caretaker military rulers, who appear beholden to U.S. largesse and in no rush to reverse Mubarak's unpopular Palestinian policies.

Mubarak had buttressed Israel's embargo on Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, an Islamist faction hostile to the Jewish state and ideologically linked to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, dissidents under the old regime and now political contenders.

To great fanfare, Egypt declared the Rafah crossing to Gaza "open" to passengers in May. But Gazans soon found their dreams of unfettered travel dashed. Strict quotas and criteria for those allowed to cross remain, and many Palestinians say they are still regarded as potential security threats by Egypt.   Continued...

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