Normalization possible with Arab regimes, impossible with Arab people
Speaking to Al Mayadeen English, Sayed Shibl, Egyptian writer and researcher in political affairs, says Al-Awja crossing operation reflects "the true expression of the collective public opinion of Egyptians."
No one knows what the Egyptian conscript, martyr Mohammad Salah, had in mind when he carried out the Al-Awja crossing operation on the border with occupied Palestine, where he killed three Israeli soldiers, two days before the anniversary of the 1967 Naksa (Setback).
Perhaps Mohammad was one of the 2000s generation in Egypt, whose parents and grandparents repeatedly told them on different occasions about the defeat of the Arab forces by the Israeli occupation and the loss of Arab lands such as Sinai, the Golan, the West Bank, Gaza, and Al-Quds and lamented the departure of a great Arab leader like Gamal Abdel Nasser, who united the Arab nation, supported the oppressed, and stood in the face of Western imperialism.
Perhaps he was taught that, as Abdel Nasser said, "What was taken by force can only be restored by force" and was reminded that under Operation Badr in 1973, the Egyptian army's heroic resistance was able to cross the Suez Canal, capture the "Bar Lev Line", and liberate a part of Sinai.
Maybe the 23-year-old is from this Arab generation that has not yet forgotten the scenes of killing and trail of destruction left behind by the Israeli occupation in its repeated aggressions against the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip for 16 years, and perhaps the images of "Israel" committing the worst massacres against the Lebanese in 2006 were planted in his memory.
But for sure, he was a witness to the daily crimes committed by the occupation forces against the Palestinians who are defending their land, sanctities, and dignity across Palestine.
During the Israeli aggression on Gaza in May 2021, Mohammad wrote on his Facebook page, "Allah stands by Palestine," in response to a post by Mike Pence saying: "America stands with Israel," during Seif Al-Quds Battle.
"الله يقف مع فلسطين"— #القدس_ينتفض 🇵🇸 (@MyPalestine0) June 5, 2023
الشهيد الجندي المصري محمد صلاح أثناء الحرب على غزة عام 🇪🇬🇵🇸2021 pic.twitter.com/616tigJn3l
We have the right to consider that the operation carried out by Mohammad Salah against the occupation forces expresses the will of every free and honorable person who rejects the occupation, makes it suffer, takes away its security and its settlers' comfort, and takes revenge for the oppressed, the blood of the martyrs, and all the prisoners in occupation prisons.
In confirmation of that, Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the operation as "serious and unusual." The chief of staff of the Israeli occupation forces, Herzi Halevi, admitted that the operation was "a difficult incident," during which three of the Israeli occupation forces' "best" soldiers were killed on the border with Egypt.
Israeli media also considered that the Egyptian conscript's operation, which succeeded despite its simplicity, exposed the complete collapse of the security system of the Israeli occupation army in this particular area, admitting that the results of the operation were indeed difficult, painful, and dealt a blow to occupation forces who suffered a serious failure in preventing "infiltration" into "Israel".
Touching on the latest operation, Sayed Shibl, Egyptian writer and researcher in political affairs, told Al Mayadeen English that Al-Awja crossing operation "is certainly not an individual one, but rather the true expression of the collective public opinion of Egyptians who reject the Israeli presence."
Shibl said the evidence for this is the amount of support Mohammad Salah received on social media.
"It is very rare to find an Egyptian comment on Facebook that rejects armed action directed against Israel, and if an Egyptian happens to have this anomalous opinion, he will stop it because of how strong the public opinion stands against Zionism," he indicated.
The Egyptian writer and researcher considered that the importance of the operation "lies in the fact that it came at a time when the Israeli entity feels threatened from all borders, except the western border with Egypt where it feels safe."
He added that the operation "reinforces the concern of the occupation government and deprives the settlers of any sense of safety."
"It is a message to the leaders of the entity calling on them to retreat from their aggressive path against the Arab people in occupied Palestine."
Shibl underlined that what is certain is that there is a message that reached everyone today: normalization is possible with Arab governments, but it is impossible with the Arab people.
Despite the absence of precise figures on the percentage of Egyptians who reject normalization with the Israeli occupation, a 2019-2020 survey conducted by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies found that 85% of Egyptians refuse diplomatic recognition of "Israel", while only 13% support it.
According to Shibl, Egyptians expressed their happiness in public streets, in cafes, and on social media. He noted that despite not witnessing marches or demonstrations due to the security conditions in the country, anyone who lives among ordinary Egyptians during the past few days can touch their joy over the recent operation due to their rejection of the continued Israeli occupation of Arab lands, as well as the longing of Egyptians for acts of resistance, especially if it was carried out by an Egyptian -- a factor related to national pride.
Asked whether the timing of Mohammad Salah's operation might be linked to the 1967 Naksa anniversary, Shibl said, "Maybe it has something to do with the June 5 setback anniversary, or maybe not."
The Egyptian writer pointed out that it is natural for every young Egyptian under the age of 30 to have a father or uncle who tells them about Egypt's wars with the Israeli enemy and the martyrs who rose during it, which plants in them "a desire for revenge," especially since the effects of the 1967 aggression remain apparent in Palestine and Syria, and even in Egypt, under the so-called “Peace Treaty”, which still restricts the full movement of the Egyptian army inside the Sinai Peninsula.
Shibl recalled that in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution, the position of the various political currents was to reject “Israel” and organize demonstrations against its embassy, which culminated in the September 2011 storming of the occupation's embassy in the Egyptian city of Giza, which led to its evacuation in the summer of the same year.
In conclusion, the Israeli occupation, as usual, will present hundreds of arguments and justifications related to martyr Mohammad Salah, including that he suffers from a psychological disorder or that he does not represent the official Egyptian position on "Israel", but there is no doubt that the last operation will remain stuck in the minds of the new Egyptian generation.
And who knows, we might see another Mohamed Salah in the coming days.