An Egyptian soldier was killed Sunday afternoon by snipers in an ambush attack near a military base at the entrance to the Egyptian part of the city of Rafah.
When Israel withdrew from the Sinai in 1982, Rafah was split into a Gazan part and an Egyptian part, separated by barbed-wire barriers. The middle of the city was razed to create a large buffer zone.
Egyptian security sources said Sunday the attack killed a soldier named Mustafa Badr Hashim, 19, years of Assiut, from a gunshot wound. His body was flown to the military hospital in El-Arish.
Meanwhile, according to the Hamas government, the Egyptians have kept the Rafah border crossings open all day Sunday and will keep it open Monday, to allow passage from the Gaza Strip into Egypt and on to Saudi Arabia for the Muslim pilgrimage. So far a reported 1,243 have been allowed through, while 51 were rejected. Thousands more are expected to request passage should the Egyptian government decide to keep the crossing open.
Four years after a rioting mob did its best to destroy the Israel Embassy in Cairo and kill its staff, Israel’s 13th Ambassador to Egypt, David Govrin, formally presented his credentials on Wednesday to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The new Israeli ambassador to Egypt has produced an introductory YouTube video so the average Egyptian could get to know him “personally,” in the privacy of their own homes, as well as become more familiar with Israel’s feelings about its relationship with their country and people. The video includes subtitles in English.
Govrin, 53, joined the ambassadors of seven other nations, standing one behind the other in line in a ceremony at the presidential palace in Cairo, including new envoys from the United Arab Emirates and Somalia (with whom Israel has no diplomatic ties) as well as Netherlands, Myanmar, Mexico, Greece and Belgium. El-Sisi greeted the new envoys and wished them success, according to presidential spokesperson Ala’a Youssef.
Also present for the ceremony was Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who visited Israel last month. Cairo has been recently involved with Moscow in an effort to advance final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but thus far to no avail.
Govrin arrived in Cairo earlier this summer to set up his accommodations, having replaced his predecessor of two years, Haim Koren, on July 17. He served in the Cairo embassy in the 1990s as first secretary, and was named as the new envoy to Egypt last February following Koren’s request to return to Israel “for personal reasons.” Govrin served most recently as head of the Jordan and Morocco desk at Israel’s foreign ministry.
Although much has changed in Egypt over the past four years, the situation in some respects has remained much the same: the Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers who tore apart the Israeli Embassy in Cairo and supported the rise of President Mohammed Morsi, though today outlawed, nevertheless still attempt to overthrow el-Sisi.
The same elements also do what they can to assist the terrorist groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula, including those aligned with Al Qaeda and Da’esh (ISIS), among them the group today known as “Sinai Province,” formerly called Ansar Beyt al-Maqdis. In addition, other terrorist organizations also maintain bases in Sinai such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad — all committed to Israel’s destruction.
Cairo has opened the sole land crossing between Egypt and Gaza on its border in the town of Rafah in order to allow Palestinian Authority Arabs to make their way to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
The border crossing will be open this week from Tuesday through Thursday to facilitate the holy Islamic pilgrimage, Egyptian officials said, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.
Some 2,008 Gaza residents obtained visas to fly to Mecca from the Cairo airport for the ritual.
The crossing was last opened in early July, when 3,099 residents entered Egypt via the Rafah crossing during a five-day open period for “humanitarian purposes.”
The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, and a religious obligation for all adult Muslims that must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey without causing undue hardship to their families during the process.
Muslims from around the world will be traveling on pilgrimage to Mecca for the Hajj, and millions had already arrived at the Grand Mosque by early Monday morning, with many have slept outside on the smooth white marble paving outside the massive house of worship in their simple white garments as prescribed for hajj.
Saudi authorities have warned they will forcefully stop any disruptions among the faithful that might erupt over the civil war raging in Syria, according to The Telegraph.
The outstretched hand of Israeli Olympics judo competitor Uri Sasson, left alone in mid-air by his Egyptian opponent, reminds us all of something we have been trying to forget: Israel does not really have “peace” with Egypt. Currently, the interest of the military regime in Egypt is to cooperate with Israel. That is all. Interests, as we know, change all the time.
Israel paid dearly for peace with Egypt. We destroyed a thriving Israeli city and an entire region of agricultural villages. We surrendered all of our strategic gains from the Six-Day War. We retreated from the entire Sinai Peninsula, surrendered oil (and uranium) deposits, and, to top it all off, we now have ISIS just a stone’s throw away from Eilat. This “peace” has not improved our security or geo-political situation. Just the opposite.
Without the “peace” agreement with Egypt, U.S. armaments and aid would not have flowed freely to Egypt and the last significant army in our neighborhood would have melted away (like the Syrian army) between the 50-year-old rusting tanks and Soviet jets.
Israel’s security situation on the border with Syria, with which we never signed a peace accord, is much better than the situation on Egypt’s border – where we paid a steep price in lives lost and where we continue to pay from time to time.
“Poor Begin,” said Sadat. “I got the entire Sinai and all that he got is a piece of paper…”
True peace with Israel’s enemies within our land and outside it is not a territorial issue. It goes much deeper than that. The Arabs regard us as European colonialists. As long as we do not connect to our identity, they will continue to see us as a foreign entity in the Land. Justifiably so.
Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the members of the Israeli national judo team on Wednesday and praised them for their achievements, highlighting judokas Ori Sasson and Yarden Gerbi, who both won bronze medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The prime minister focused on Sasson in particular, who made it to the spotlight when Egyptian opponent Islam El-Shehaby refused to bow or shake hands after losing to Sasson in the first round of the judo +100 kilogram category. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) sent El-Shehaby home following his unsportsmanlike behavior.
Netanyahu reiterated a message that was relayed to him by Egyptian officials who said that Shehaby’s actions in no way were representative of the whole Egyptian public.
“I received a message from Egypt yesterday,” Netanyahu informed the athletes. “They told me,‘I want you to know, Mr. Prime Minister, that other voices were heard in Egypt.’”
“This is an important milestone not only in sports, but in the framework of our relationship, which is not just on the governmental level, but other voices were also heard among the public,” continued Netanyahu. “Ori, your extended hand was not left without a response.”
“We know that Israel is on the global map, particularly in sports, especially Olympic sports,” declared Netanyahu.
A confidential German Interior Ministry report accusing the Turkish government of supporting terrorism across the Middle East was leaked to the German broadcaster ARD Tuesday. According to the document, the Erdogan regime supports Hamas, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and several Islamist rebel groups in Syria. The document was originally provided by the Bundestag to the leftwing party Die Linke.
ARD cited the document as saying that “the many expressions of solidarity and support actions by the ruling AKP and President Erdogan for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and groups of armed Islamist opposition in Syria emphasize their ideological affinity with the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Founded in 1928 and inspired by the fascistic ideology of the time, the Muslim Brotherhood has been the largest, best-organized, and most disciplined Suni opposition force in Egypt and in other countries — to the point where, for a brief moment in 2011-12, it captured the Egyptian presidency. In 2006, Hamas, an offshoot of the MB, captured the Gaza Strip where it remains the sole sovereign.
The leaked German report says Ankara has deepened its ties with the MB, Hamas and the Syrian groups and is serving as their “platform for action” in the region.
“As a result of the step-by-step Islamization of its foreign and domestic policy since 2011, Turkey has become the central platform for action by Islamist groups in the Middle East,” ARD cited from the document.
MP Sevim Dagdalen of the Linke party told ARD “the German government cannot publicly designate the godfather of terrorism Erdogan as a partner, while internally warning about Turkey as a hub for terrorism.”
The German government has so far declined comment on the leaked document. But earlier Germany’s European affairs minister Michael Roth said Germany plans to continue raising its concerns about President Erdogan’s Detention of tens of thousands of people as part of his crackdown on suspected coup supporters.
On Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that Turkey might abandon its promise to retain on its soil the millions of migrants and refugees pushing to get to Europe if the EU not grant Turkish travelers visa-free entry. This despite the €3 billion Turkey has received in grants to care for this population.