Egyptians are preparing to cross into the blockaded Gaza Strip on the 63rd anniversary of the occupation of Palestine by the Israeli army.
Thousands of Egyptians plan to go to the besieged Palestinian enclave through the Rafah border crossing on May 15 to mark the Day of Nakba (Catastrophe).
In 1948, Israeli forces displaced some 700,000 Palestinians, forcing them to flee to different neighboring countries.
The soldiers wiped nearly 500 Palestinian villages and towns off the map, leaving nearly one million refugees (now the number is estimated at 4.7 millions) dreaming of an eventual return to their homeland more than six decades later.
The Egyptians are also planning to hold a protest against the years-long siege of Gaza by Israel.
The move indicates the popular stance in Egypt on the occupation of Palestine which had been suppressed for years under the rule of former President Hosni Mubarak — Israel’s closest ally in the region.
Mubarak collaborated with Tel Aviv in tightening the siege of Gaza, literally cutting off the populated coastal sliver from the outside world by refusing to open up the Rafah crossing — the only gateway in Gaza not controlled by Israel.
Mubarak’s ouster in late January has chilled relations between Cairo and Tel Aviv, and paved the way for a change in Egypt’s foreign policy towards other regional countries and also its position toward the siege of Gaza.