A group of some 20 Eritreans has been trapped for seven days between the Israeli and Egyptian fences in Sinai. Until Wednesday, soldiers were ordered to give them some water but no food. Activists who went there over the last several days were prevented from reaching the asylum seekers by soldiers. UPDATE: A delegation from Physicians for Human Rights traveled to the border today [Thursday], and reported the following (translated by Sol Salbe): A battalion commander named Dolev has come to meet the PHR delegation. He only agreed to speak with two doctors - Dr Kobi Arad and Prof Mick Elkan.…Read More... | 18 Comments
Coming on the heels of last week's prisoner swap, Egyptian authorities have released to Israel 27-year-old Ilan Grapel, suspected in Cairo of having spied on Israel's behalf. Some two dozen Egyptians held in Israel were released in exchange. The only image much of the world saw of 27-year-old Ilan Grapel over the past four months was that of a tall, slightly pale, sunglass-wearing young man standing amid a crowd of Egyptians, pursing his lips in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The dual national American-Israeli was picked up by Egyptian authorities in June of this year on suspicion of spying for the Jewish…Read More... | 2 Comments
King Abdullah II of Jordan used some harsh words against Israel yesterday: "Jordan and Palestine's future (prospects) are stronger than Israel today and that it is the Israeli who is afraid now. When I was in the United States, an Israeli intellectual talked to me and said that what is going on in the Arab world is in the best interest of Israel; but I answered him and said: on the contrary; your situation today is harder than ever before. "We support the Palestinian people right to a Palestinian state; our political stance did not and will not change and…Read More... | 15 Comments
It’s true, as of today a military escalation is unlikely. At least, that’s what all the experts and all the analysts are saying. Yet I can’t help but feel the Middle East has never been so close to war as it is today. And I don’t say this lightly. As one who has lived in this region my whole life, I have seen how situations can deteriorate so rapidly, before you even manage to blink. All it takes is the “right” timing for a terror attack, a lethal response, a movement of tanks misinterpreted, the repositioning of anti-aircraft batteries to…Read More... | 28 Comments
Ever since the latest terror attack, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the Egyptian demand for Israel to apologize for shooting five of its soldiers during the chase after the terrorists. Israel probably could apologize, yes. As usual, it was trigger happy. But hey - how about some reciprocity? Wouldn’t it be nice if Egypt apologized for the lack security in Sinai since the fall of Mubarak? For the inaction on its part which is most probably the reason terrorists are taking over the peninsula? And what’s the deal with all this sudden need for apologies? First Turkey, now…Read More... | 55 Comments
The prospects for democracy in Egypt will be affected by regional developments, and will also affect them in turn. While important elements in Egyptian society have been virtually ignored, Islamists' role has been greatly exaggerated in Western discourse, and nowhere more so than in Israel. Arab regimes that are more responsive to their peoples' voices may force Israel to change its policies, but that will ultimately benefit the country's own interests. It is hard to fully articulate the magnitude of yesterday's events in Egypt. The success of massive popular protests in removing Mubarak from power is an amazing development, which…Read More... | 3 Comments
The revelation of Israel's attempt to strengthen Mubarak's regime evokes a powerful parable. One work of art that strongly affected my world view as a teenager was a science fiction story: “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by American author Ursuala K. Le Guin. Omelas, its setting, was described as a city of enormous splendor, a place of ultimate prosperity and joy. There was a price for all this. In order for Omelas to remain so splendid, a child must be kept perpetually in a filthy basement. He is mentally handicapped and deeply terrified of two brooms that are…Read More... | 35 Comments
While it is impossible to predict what kind of relationship Israel might have with a post-Mubarak Egypt, it is perfectly legitimate to be concerned about possible negative ramifications. But these concerns should not be an excuse for discrediting the Egyptian protesters By Lara Friedman Today Egypt is undergoing historic, organic change led by the people of Egypt. The Egyptian people – not led by any single party or individual – are demonstrating through their actions that the longstanding political status quo in Egypt cannot continue. It is still unknown how these protests will end and what Egypt’s government will look…Read More... | 8 Comments
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