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December 23, 2014 / 1 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’

Gazans Dismayed as Egypt Razes Rafah Homes for Buffer Zone

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Gazans have been watching impassively on their side of the border as Egyptian troops demolished Rafah homes to make way for a military buffer zone.

Few are serene about the turn of events that will greatly reduce, if not entirely eliminate the possibility of smuggling anything in or out of Egypt via tunnels under the border near Rafah. That includes the normal goods of daily life, as well as the weapons and other items imported to expand the arsenal of Gaza’s terrorist infrastructure.

Security has been raised to its highest alert level in the area after a bomb exploded Monday near Egyptian troops as they worked. No one was wounded in the attack, but troops are on their guard.

On October 24, 31 Egyptian soldiers were killed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis terrorists. Since then, a state of emergency was declared for the town of Rafah – which straddles Egypt’s border with Gaza – and its surrounding areas. Ansar Bayt al-Maqis is linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) terrorist organizations.

The buffer zone, to be 500 meters (550 yards) wide, will run along the 13-kilometer (8 mile) Egyptian border with Gaza, starting from northern Sinai and extending to the Mediterranean Sea.

Thus far some 300 homes have already been razed to the ground, with at least 500 left to go. The project is expected to displace more than 10,000 Egyptian citizens who are to be compensated by the government for the loss of their homes and any businesses or livelihoods they were forced to leave behind.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called on Egyptians to unite with him to fight the terrorists who threaten the security of the nation and have essentially transformed the Sinai Peninsula into their personal stronghold.

“This is our battle, all of us,” he said in comments following last week’s attack on the military. “The battle of all Egyptians.”

The government has allocated up to one billion Egyptian pounds (nearly $140 million) in compensation funds for those whose homes were demolished.

“We won’t forget their sacrifice,” el-Sisi said.

Israel’s Ambassador Presents Credentials in Egypt

Monday, September 15th, 2014

A new Israeli ambassador to Egypt presented his credentials to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Sunday, perhaps heralding the start of a new era as well. There has been no Israeli ambassador in Cairo since Israel’s embassy was torn apart by a rioting mob in September 2011.

Ambassador Chaim Koren presented his credentials in a ceremony at the presidential palace in Cairo. In his previous post, Koren served as Israel’s first ambassador to the emerging state of South Sudan.

He technically began serving as Israel’s ambassador to Egypt three months ago, working from his personal residence in Cairo. Since he has yet to find an office in the nation’s capital, he will continue to work from his residence there for the time being.

Israel’s government was encouraged by Egypt’s acceptance of Koren’s credentials and saw it as a sign of good relations between the two nations, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

As a follow up, government officials “would be pleased if Egypt were to instruct their ambassador to return to Israel,” said a diplomatic source quoted by the Hebrew-language NRG news site.

Egypt played a major role in mediating the current cease-fire between Gaza terrorist factions and Israel.

Egypt Denies Offering Land for ‘Sinai State of Palestine’

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry says President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi never offered the Palestinian Authority a chance to establish a new state in the Sinai Peninsula, according to i24 News.

On Monday morning, Israel Army Radio had reported the Egyptian president had made the suggestion to to Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas earlier this week in Cairo.

The alleged proposal would have provided a tract of land 1,600 square kilometers (618 square miles) adjacent to Gaza, to “end the refugee story,” as Abbas told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

The total area of the site – which would be controlled by the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas — is five times the area of Gaza. According to Israel Army Radio, the proposal has a green light from the United States, and Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was given a ‘heads up’ as well.

In exchange, the Palestinian Authority would end its demand for Israel to retreat to the 1949 Armistice Line – known internationally also as the “1967 border” after Israel won the 1967 Six Day War.

The broadcast report noted that el-Sisi reminded Abbas in their conversation that he is 80 years old. The Egyptian president allegedly warned the PA chairman that if he chose not to make history by accepting the proposal, “your successor will.”

Abbas, however, rejected the plan – much as his predecessor, former PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat once rejected a plan that would have given his people 97 percent of the territory in Judea and Samaria for which they have fought for so long.  Arafat instead insisted on holding out for land from Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital.

The Egyptian proposal is not really a new idea. In 1956, the Egyptian government proposed a similar concept. Then, too, it was rejected by the PLO.

“Now this is being proposed once again,” Abbas told a gathering of his Fatah faction in Ramallah on Sunday. “A senior leader in Egypt has said, ‘A refuge must be found for the Palestinians and we have all this open land.’ This was said to me personally. But it is illogical for the problem to be solved at Egypt’s expense. We won’t have it.”

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry claimed in its denial on Monday that the proposal was actually offered in the past by Muslim Brotherhood-backed former President Mohammed Morsi, deposed a year ago by el-Sisi.

Under the plan, Palestinian Authority-controlled cities in Judea and Samaria would remain autonomous and their residents would remain in their homes.

So-called “refugees” from abroad – who are now into the third and fourth and in some cases even fifth generations – could move to new homes in the proposed State of Palestine, adjacent to Gaza. There would be a considerable amount of seafront property in the tract being offered, enough for both real estate development, and for a port.

Just two main conditions were attached to the proposal: (1) the state be demilitarized, and (2) that cities in Judea and Samaria be autonomous, not the entire regions.

Egypt Slaps White House, Jails Al Jazeera Journalists for 7 Years

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Journalists around the world are expressing outrage in the wake of an Egyptian court’s decision to sentence three Al Jazeera journalists to prison for seven years.

The three were taken from their hotel room in Cairo in December 2013 and charged with conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to tarnish Egypt’s international reputation. Australian ex-BBC reporter Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian ex-CNN journalist Mohamed Fahmy, and local Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were among 20 accused in connection with the charges.

Al Jazeera has denied the accusations and journalists around the world have condemned Egypt for conducting what is seen as a direct campaign by Egypt’s new president to snuff out freedom of speech.

In the United States, the issue was also perceived as a diplomatic slap to the White House, which condemned the sentence. Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri to express his government’s “serious displeasure” over the matter.

The court decision had come just one day after Kerry’s unannounced visit to Cairo in which he announced that Washington had unfrozen billions of dollars in military aid to Egypt. He also vowed during his visit that the U.S. would deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters for use in the fight against terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.

Newly-elected President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi refused to “interfere in the judicial verdict,” setting off an international firestorm.

“Egypt should review its unacceptable sentences against Egyptian and international journalists, and show commitment to freedom of the press,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Al Jazeera reported.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott added that his government would work to get the imprisoned journalists out of the country “quickly.”

Leaders from various other international groups said that they, too, would work to free the journalists.

U.S. Frees Military Aid to Egypt

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

The United States has agreed to release its promised foreign aid funds to Egypt, frozen since former President Mohammed Morsi was ousted a year ago. Secretary of State John Kerry made the announcement during a visit to Cairo two weeks after President-elect Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was sworn into office following May elections.

El-Sisi, who served as defense minister and field marshal prior to his election, has been cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood — which backed Morsi’s candidacy and which took over the government once he was in office — and terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula.

Officials at the State Department said the mostly military aid, totaling some $1.5 billion, will be used to pay existing defense contracts. Kerry also promised to send 10 Apache attack helicopters, which el-Sisi’s forces will use against terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.

“The Apaches will come, and they will come very, very soon,” Kerry promised at a joint news conference Sunday in Cairo.

El-Sisi Becomes President of Egypt

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Exit polls show that former Field Marshal and Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has swept the polls to become Egypt’s new president.

With nearly all the votes counted, el-Sisi has won 95.3 percent, with leftist opponent Hamdeen Sabahi taking 4.7 percent. The data comes from the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research and the Egyptian TV channel MBC Masr.

Some 25 million Egyptians managed to make it to the polls by the end of the three-day extended voting period, according to the state-run Al-Ahram Online news service. Both candidates filed complaints against the decision to extend the voting by an extra day.

The Human Rights Watch agency also complained, issuing a statement saying, “The mass arrests of thousands of political dissidents, whether Islamist or secular, has all but shut down the political arena and stripped these elections of real meaning.”

El-Sisi removed his predecessor, the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohamed Morsi, last June after he had spent one year in office. That year resulted in an Islamist parliament and a tourism industry torn apart by fears over limits on alcohol, music, dress codes and more.

The economy, already limping after the January 25 Revolution in 2011 toppled the government of former President Hosni Mubarak, crashed. And thousands took to the streets to protest when there was no improvement in any sector month after month from the new regime.

When the figure hit the million mark, el-Sisi stepped in, removing Morsi and installing a provisional governing council with representation from across the political spectrum and an interim president. The Muslim Brotherhood was also invited to send delegates – but refused and instead sent its people into the streets, where clashes escalated to more violence.

Eventually more than 600 were killed in the clashes between police and protesters, and thousands were injured. Ultimately the Muslim Brotherhood was banned as a political organization, as it was in earlier years by the Mubarak government, and its leaders jailed.

El-Sisi also poured police and other security personnel into the Sinai Peninsula to put a stop to the flood of terrorists ‘immigrating’ to the region to establish new bases there. He also ordered the Egyptian army to seal the smuggler tunnels with which Gaza terrorists were ‘importing’ weapons and other contraband under the border from Iran and elsewhere.

The issue now is whether the new administration under Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will have the tools and the legitimacy it needs to restore order and peace to a nation wracked by rage, violence and poverty for so long.

Egyptians Choose a President (Again)

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Egyptians are going to the polls today (Monday) and tomorrow to elect a president in what many see as a foregone conclusion. But the issue is not whether former Field Marshal and Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will be elected president – the issue is how many of Egypt’s 80 million citizens will actually turn out to vote.

El-Sisi, whose opponent was socialist activist Hamdeen Sabahi, was responsible for the June 30, 2013 removal of Egypt’s first democratically-elected president.

Former President Mohammed Morsi was backed by the Muslim Brotherhood and elected by a popular vote that many Egyptians said was rigged. The election followed the “January 25 Revolution” that toppled the decades-old regime of former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

The “intervention” – as the subsequent military government called it – came in response to months of protests against the increasingly restrictive Islamist regime.

By June, millions of Egyptians had signed a petition asking the president to resign, and were flooding the streets in major cities around the country. But the streets ran with blood as the protesters clashed with their Muslim Brotherhood counterparts, who supported Morsi and claimed the entire scene was a setup by the military.

Now new elections have arrived and the question is whether the country will turn out to support el-Sisi — the military chief who seized the initiative to remove Morsi from office, attempted to restore order to Egypt and has since cooperated with Israel in trying to eliminate terrorist camps in Sinai.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/egyptians-choose-a-president-again/2014/05/26/

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