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Why the Arab Spring has changed everything in the Middle East

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They have now entered centre stage through the revolution they created. This brings Palestine ever closer to the heart of the Arab Spring sweeping the region.

Egyptians show strength of solidarity

by Gigi Ibrahim in Gaza

This was a first in history. Over 500 Egyptians, some without passports, got through the Rafah crossing into Gaza during a war on Monday. This was beyond our wildest dreams--it would have been simply impossible before.

We wanted to send a message that post-revolution relations between Egypt and Palestine must change. We wanted to break the siege and show our solidarity with the people of Gaza.

We wanted to tell our current president he can no longer continue with the same old Mubarak policies. We are demanding that Egypt cuts all ties with Israel and opens the border with Gaza without any strings attached.

Our "people's convoy" of eight buses was organised by several left wing groups including the Revolutionary Socialists. It included independent activists, workers and medical students.

We drew a lottery of five of those who had passports from each bus to enter. Then we got a happy surprise when the Egyptian officials told us, "You all will get in".


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It was our size that made it possible--but it wasn't without a fight. As soon as we came to the border we made a huge protest and threatened to camp out.

On the other side, in Gaza, we found continuous power cuts and bombs landing nearby. My body shook every time one went off. We were taken to Shifa hospital--the biggest in Gaza--to visit the injured. Everyone was so happy to see Egyptians coming to Gaza, "bringing Tahrir with us".

It was amazing how accustomed they were to bombs going off but to me it was eye opening. I toured the hospital with a doctor and some activists. The people were the most resilient and courageous I have ever met.

The doctors told us about the kind of casualties they receive and their life in Gaza while all the time Israeli missiles were landing in the background.

Some patients had their legs amputated, a lot of them were children and women. Yet they were ear to ear smiles greeting us. They said how much it meant to them that we had risked our lives to visit in solidarity with their resistance.

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We said to one child, "Hope you get well soon." He replied, "I have to get better to go train to be a fighter against the enemy." We proved that people's solidarity is 100 times more effective than waiting for governments to listen to our demands.

Global protests stand with Palestinians

People across the world protested last Saturday against Israel's ongoing airstrikes on Gaza. In London thousands rallied outside Israel's embassy in the afternoon.

A group of women held placards asking drivers to "honk for Gaza". Bus drivers, motorists and cyclists made a deafening noise as they passed.

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Why the Arab Spring has changed everything in the Middle East