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The Desert of Death

View of the Israeli-Egyptian border next to the southern city of Eilat

Photo Credit: Matanya Tausig/Flash90

It may be that these organs are used for transplants inside Egypt or in the coastal area of Sinai, perhaps in the area of Sharm al-Sheikh. The Egyptian newspaper al-Mashhad reported late in October that word of this phenomenon has surfaced in Rafah and Sheikh Zweid, and the leaders of the Salafi (The traditional Islamic) groups condemned it strongly, claiming that it is limited to a small number of people with no conscience, and that it damages the good name of the Bedouins.

Sheikh Mar’i ‘Arar, official spokesman of the Islamic Salafi organization, noted that “a meeting that was held recently near Rafah in which the organ trade, the smuggling of cars, Africans, women and drugs to Israel was condemned”. Interesting that he didn’t relate to the smuggling of weapons and ammunition to Gaza, because apparently, in his opinion, Israeli blood that is spilled as a result of the smuggling of weapons to Gaza is not considered any great loss.

One additional thing: the newspaper al-Mashhad has written that Israelis are also involved in the smuggling of organs from Sinai. The newspaper gives no details about the identity of these “Israelis”.

Who is guilty?

The finger of accusation is pointed automatically at those same Bedouins in central Sinai, who in the past, out of greed, smuggled everything from drugs to Jihadists, from workers to organs. However, the Egyptian government can not be acquitted from guilt, since they controlled the Sinai for many years and allowed this smugglers’ market to develop to these proportions.

Egypt did not pave roads in Sinai, and so, practically, they left control of the area in favor to the camel riders and ATVs. Because of the Egyptian neglect, Sinai has been transformed over the years, into a lawless land, which is, today, a haven for terrorists who have escaped from prison in Egypt as well as for murderers who trade in the organs of their victims.

A third accusing finger can be pointed at Israel, which for years has permitted Africans to enter illegally without limitation, which encourages them to embark on the long and dangerous journey to Israel. If Israel would close her border with Egypt effectively, they would not be able to infiltrate, and thus would not try to get to Israel, and would not be putting themselves at the mercy of the Sinai Bedouins.

A fourth accusing finger points to the Israeli human rights organizations, which petitioned the Supreme Court of Israel to force the state to allow the infiltrators to enter illegally into Israel and remain. These organizations arrange shelter, food, housing, medical care and work for the illegal immigrants.

Recently, a public discussion arose about the building of a holding camp in the Negev for the illegal immigrants, but the “human rights” organizations such as Amnesty registered an objection with the National Committee of Planning and Building, that a holding camp such as this is, in their opinion, against the International Declaration of Refugee Rights. True, the action of these organizations and people spring from good intentions and from a merciful and compassionate heart, but the Eritrean who writes to his friends and family that it’s good for him in Israel because the “human rights” organizations make sure that he lacks for nothing, causes additional Eritreans to embark on the journey and to fall victim to the dangers that await them in Sinai.

Part of the guilt can also be placed on the UN and the international community, which allowed the situation in Eritrea to deteriorate economically, socially and politically, to the point that its citizens are willing to put themselves in such great danger just to flee from there. The UN refugee organization UNHCR should have taken care of them and defended them but its poor performance allows Egypt and the Bedouins to take advantage of them so shamefully.

About the Author: Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.


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