Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Israel's Relations with Egypt: No Breaking Bread Together

Nadene Goldfoot
You know how when a new neighbor moves in next door, you usually go over with a plate of cookies in order to get to know them and also to invite them over to your house?

Avigdor Lieberman, Foreign Minister in Israel, invited the new President of Egypt over for a visit, especially after hearing a few good things about him.  Mohammed Morsi had commented that the Peace Treaty with Israel was secure.  That was a relief.  Morsi was going to visit Iran soon

First of all, the Tuesday invitation was quickly declined on Wednesday.  "There is no possibility for Morsi to visit the Zionist entity!"  stated a senior official from Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Even the Muslim Brotherhood's lawyer got in the discussion and also threw in the comment that, "Well, Iran is a sovereign state and our relations with it do not affect our neighbors."  How stupid does he think Israel is?  That's the biggest crock I've ever heard.

Heshmat, evidently the senior official, thought the comparison of Iran and Israel was off base.  "There is a huge difference between the two cases," he said.  "  Iran does not plunder land and is not an occupying force."  He forgot to throw in the fact that Iran is a fellow Muslim country with the same goals that they have, of course and constantly abuses Israel with rhetoric, calling it dirty names and threatening it's life.

However, Lieberman, who I'm sure was aware that the answer would be "NO WAY", did the right thing.  He extended the hand of friendship.  The neighbor is just not as broadminded as Sadat had been nor as polite as Mubarak was.  They've got some neighbor next door this time!

The only good thing possibly to happen is that Ouda Tarabin, Israeli, who has been held in Egypt for the last 12 years on espionage charges, will be released soon.  Negotiations are happening.  Why?  He has no value to Egypt anymore, said Al-Masry al-Youm in quoting Egyptian intelligence.  Whatever did they do to this poor person?  Ouda, born in 1981, is an Israeli Bedouin.  In 2000 at age 19 he went over into Egypt to visit his sister in El-Arish.  He evidently made an illegal crossing, which was something that Bedouins had been doing.  Israel also occasionally arrested Egyptian crossers, who are returned to the border after a short interrogation.  He was unlucky, and was tried in absentia by the Egyptian military court, but never indicted.  He had been sentenced to 15 years, and that his father had been sentenced in absentia to 25 years for the same thing.  Ouda's Egyptian cousin, Eid Suleiman was also arrested for this same offense in 1999 and is still in prison.  Ouda had done nothing wrong but cross over without his documentation.  He's been in a jail in Cairo since 2008.

Another such case was Azzam Azzam, who had this same cell.  He was also an Israeli citizen who was sent to Egypt to train local textile workers.  He was held for 8 years on an espionage charge which Israel said was unfounded.  Egypt has never presented any credible evidence.  Egypt has been a dangerous country to make friends with.

MK Ayoob Kara, an Israeli Druze, has met with Tarabin's family to work on securing his release.  He has been a member of Israel's Likud party for many years. and is the  Deputy Minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee, and lives in Haifa.


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