Egypt not serious about real peace with Israel
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized Egypt following the latest report indicating that Egypt is again celebrating previous military attacks upon Israel. Haaretz reports that the Egyptian Navy will be carrying out the largest exercise in its history at the end of this week, calling it ‘Victory 41’ to mark the sinking of the Israeli Navy vessel Eilat 41years ago, which resulted in the loss of 47 Israeli sailors and the injury of 91 more. The day has been set as a holiday for Egyptian naval forces. In an interview in the Egyptian Al Ahram (‘Egyptian Navy launches largest exercise in history celebrating attack on Israel,’ Independent Media Review Analysis, October 20, 2008; original Hebrew report by Yoav Stern in Haaretz can be found here).
The Egyptian celebrations of attacks on Israel are part of pattern that has been present since the start of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979. Not only have relations been frigid throughout this period but former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat himself was assassinated on October 6, 1981 while reviewing a military parade celebrating the eight anniversary of the Egyptian surprise assault upon Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Egyptian society’s hostility to Israel is reflected in the success of a popular song entitled ‘I Hate Israel,’ as well as numerous anti-Semitic political cartoons.
Hostility to Israel has also been evidenced in the near-total prevention of normal economic, tourists, professional and cultural ties between the two countries and the unconditional opposition to working with Israeli counterparts in the legal, medical and other professional fields.
Egyptian hostility to Israel and restrictions of normalization with Israel:
Restriction trade, professional societies,
· May 2008: the Egyptian Culture Minister, Farouk Hosni, said at a conference held in the Egyptian legislature that that he “would burn Israeli books himself if found in Egyptian libraries” (Itamar Eichner, ‘Egyptian culture minister: I would burn Israeli books myself,’ Yediot Ahronot, May 14, 2008). Hosni has a record of fierce anti-Israeli deeds. In the past, he accused Israel of trying to steal Egyptian culture, and he adamantly opposes any cooperation with Israel. He also opposed an initiative presented by the American Jewish Committee to establish a museum of Jewish antiquity and culture in Cairo. Hosni is Egypt‘s candidate for heading UNESCO, the United Nations’ education, science and cultural organization secretary-general, and he has good chances of being chosen.
· A 2006 poll found that 92 percent of Egyptians regard Israel as an enemy nation, as opposed to a mere 2 percent who regarded it as a friend. No less significantly, more than 50 per cent of Egyptians similarly regard the United States as an enemy.
· 2005: Following Israel’s relinquishing control of the Egypt-Gaza border to Egypt in 2005, Yuval Diskin, the head of Israel’s Security service, Shin Bet, indicated, “The amount of weapons and explosives smuggled into the Gaza Strip from Egypt has grown drastically, by more than 300 percent
If before the disengagement they smuggled in 200 to 300 rifles a month, they are now smuggling in close to 3,000.”
· In May 2004, the Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court opposed film director Nabil Abdel-Alim‘s bid to establish an Egyptian-Israeli association to promote communication between the two countries. The presiding judge declared that “The Arab public does not need such false friendship.”
· 2002-2003: Egyptian television produced in 2002-2003 a 40-part series, ‘Rider Without a Horse,’ dramatizing The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The program depicts Jews murdering a gentile child to use his blood in making of Passover matzah. The Mubarak government refused to ban the series.
· 1997: the Egyptian government permitted publication of a popular commentary on the Quran, co-written by the president of Egypt’s Quranic schools and an Islamic expert at Al-Azhar University, Dr. Ahmad ‘Issa Al-Ma’sarawi. The commentary promotes hatred of Christians and Jews and exhorts Muslims, adult and child alike, to take up arms and fight them. An Egyptian journalist Asma Nassar opined that “The expected consequence of this [book] is that, in future, thousands of young children will be willing to blow themselves up [in terrorist operations] against [non-Muslims].” The commentary has since been reprinted four times and translated into several languages.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Egypt has shown in a variety of ways that it remains a country deeply hostile to Israel and may indeed be a leading influence in Arab world hostility to Israel. One clear index of this fact is the celebration of past attacks on Israel.
“In an era of peace that was meant to be ushered in by the 1979 Camp David peace treaty, Egypt should not be celebrating past military assaults on Israel which were fought in pursuit of a policy to eliminate Israel, which had no hostile designs on Egypt. This is not a matter of a country simply honoring its war dead. It is matter of maintaining the hostility to Israel‘s existence which spurred the very attacks being celebrated. Moreover, as noted in the list above, it occurs in a wider context of Egyptian political, cultural and media hostility to Israel. This is contrary to peace, as is so much else that is done or permitted to occur under the Mubarak regime.
“The ZOA urges the U.S. to reconsider, in light of these celebrations and Egypt‘s actions over the years, the massive $2 billion given in annual aid to Egypt. Aid to Egypt should not be on autopilot. It should become contingent on Egypt adopting truly peaceful actions and policies towards Israel. We should not accept the continuing situation of a hostile, cold peace within which the Mubarak regime continues to promote hatred of Israel.”