Archive for the ‘Egypt’ Category

The Egypt-Israel peace treaty is dead – Israel News | Haaretz

I dont like the Egyptian-Israeli Peace treaty anymore.

No, not because I reject peace with Israel quite the opposite. In politics as in ones personal life, we are surrounded by a dynamic and changing environment. Just as I cant support institutions such as marriage where the contract between people are decided at one point in time and cant be updated again, I cant understand the rationality for countries to have fixed contracts between them that cannot be updated decades after they were signed.

The Egypt: Israel peace deal is a model from the 1970s that has never been updated and which has become just a piece of paper which cant promote or protect peace between our countries any more. The 1979 fixed contract no longer works for either side and thus we have a choice: either update the peace treaty, or watch the peace agreement fail.

President Anwar Sadat wanted a real peace, but since his assassination in 1981, the Egyptian authorities have related to the 1979 treaty as a ceasefire deal and not as a true peace treaty. They are still dreaming of revenge for their successive losses in previous wars against Israel.

33 years after the peace treaty, Israel still doesnt exist on official Egyptian maps. When young Egyptian students study geography, they find only Palestine on their state-printed books. Egypt has not canceled a law was made before the peace treaty which criminalizes Zionism, and punishes any Egyptian Zionist by removing his citizenship. Ex-President Mubarak, who was called a friend of Israel by successive Israeli leaders, was in power for three decades and never tried to drop this law. Indeed, when revolutionaries invaded State Security Investigation offices in February 2011, they found a department there under the name of Countering Zionism. But Egyptian authorities never made a clear definition of Zionism. This meant that simply calling for peace between Israel and Egypt could be considered a crime if the authorities wanted, just as the same authorities banned Jehovahs Witnesses in Egypt for their support for peace and co-existence.

The Egyptian authorities are still training young army officers to believe that Israel is their only enemy, and force young recruits to say every day that Jews are enemies of Allah. State syndicates still refuse any kind of normalization with Israel. The state-owned media still run anti-Israel propaganda. It was an ex-military officer (not a revolutionary) who accused Israel of sending sharks to Sharm el-Sheikh in 2010 to attack tourists and destroy Egypts tourist industry. Egyptians have to get permission from Egyptian Military Intelligence if they want to visit Israel, and the same agencies target Egyptian peace activists and call them Israeli spies, which is exactly what they did to me. Thats all before mentioning how the military facilitated the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo last year, and ongoing terrorist attacks across Israels borders.

We need to remember that in the context of the 1979 treaty, the Egyptian people feel they have been deceived. They know that there were two foundations to the treaty: Returning Sinai to Egypt, and making progress in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

In terms of the first point: some Israeli politicians speak about reoccupying the Sinai, or giving it to the Palestinians. Its hard for Egyptians to trust someone who talks about invading your country for the third time, gets elected and participates in the Israeli government.

Regarding the second foundation: There is no progress in the peace talks with the Palestinians. Peace with Palestinians is no longer on the agenda of the Israeli government. 1979 was supposed to enable Israel to coexist with its neighbors in the Middle East, not to force Egypt into the same isolated sphere as Israel. Egyptians are not an anti-Semitic people; they are moral people who care about Palestinians who suffer because of the occupation and increasing settlement-building on their land. My people feels deceived when an Israeli leader speaks about annexing the West Bank to Israel, or about living with the conflict forever, at a time when there is a Palestinian leader who truly believes in peace and the right of Israel to exist. This wasnt our deal. Its Israel that risks the peace treaty when it ignores Palestinian rights, not Egyptians when they are pro-Palestinian.

Israel may be a democracy, but as in Egypt, there is a major gap between the rhetoric of politicians and the views of normal citizens.

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March 21, 2015   Posted in: Egypt  Comments Closed

Egypt pins hopes on investment summit

(MENAFN – Gulf Times) After four years of political turmoil, Egypt is staking its economic revival on an investment summit in Sharm el-Sheikh it hopes will burnish its image and attract billions of dollars.

The gathering, to be attended by global chief executives and officials including the International Monetary Fund’s Christine Lagarde and US Secretary of State John Kerry, is not just about money.

Egypt hopes the March 13-15 event will put it back on investor radar by projecting an image of stability, despite an Islamist insurgency in northern Sinai and militant attacks across the country.

Economic reforms, including cuts in energy subsidies, a long-awaited law cutting red tape, and efforts to eliminate the currency black market, have won praise. But some in the international community still doubt Egypt-a US ally that controls the Suez Canal and has a peace treaty with Israel-is serious about democratic change and human rights.

If the summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh succeeds, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi could claim to be making progress on the economy and keep attention away from one of the fiercest crackdowns on dissent in Egypt’s history.

Analysts say the economy could make or break Sisi, who as army chief deposed elected President Mohamed Mursi in 2013 after mass protests against Mursi’s rule.

Hundreds of deaths and thousands of detentions followed, raising questions about the country’s democratic credentials four years after an uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Sisi has restored a degree of stability and raised hopes of economic recovery with the announcement of infrastructure mega-projects, including a multi-billion dollar expansion of the Suez Canal-reminiscent of the grandiose programme of late Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Sisi has promised to make a clean break from the past, when the state dominated the economy and businessmen close to Mubarak profited under crony capitalism.

The investment conference, where at least a few international companies are expected to announce deals with the government, has put a spotlight on whether Egypt can deliver on lofty promises. “It’s putting on a show and saying this is what we want to show you, and if they don’t meet those targets then obviously they will be deemed to fail,” said Angus Blair, chairman of business and economic forecasting think-tank Signet. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, who backed the Brotherhood’s overthrow, have kept Egypt’s economy afloat with 23bn in oil shipments, cash grants and central bank deposits.

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March 12, 2015   Posted in: Egypt  Comments Closed

Egypt court acquits ex-oil minister of charges of selling cheap gas to Israel

REUTERS – An Egyptian court acquitted former oil minister Sameh Fahmy of charges of selling cheap gas to Israel and squandering public funds and threw out his 15-year jail sentence, a judicial source said on Saturday.

Fahmy was first arrested and held in custody in April 2011. Prosecutors said former president Hosni Mubarak’s government sold gas at preferential rates to Israel and other countries, costing Egypt billions of dollars in lost revenue.

The ruling is likely to raise fears among human rights activists that the old guard was making a comeback, especially as it came after a court in November dropped charges against Mubarak of conspiring to kill protesters in the 2011 uprising as well as graft changes related to gas exports to Israel.

Fahmy was sentenced in June 2012 and had successfully appealed his sentence in 2013. The Court of Cassation ordered a retrial and Fahmy was released shortly after.

The judicial source said the Cairo Criminal Court found Fahmy and five others innocent of the charges.

“The verdict is the headline of the truth. The court heard the witnesses’ statements and had faith that the defendants did not commit any violations and therefore the court issued the innocence verdict,” Fahmy’s lawyer, Gameel Saeed, told Reuters.

A security source said Fahmy did not appear at Saturday’s court session.

Saturday’s ruling did not apply to Hussein Salem, a major shareholder in East Mediterranean Gas, which exported the gas to Israel. Salem was given a 15-year prison sentence in absentia by the court in June 2012. He had fled to Spain after the uprising.

Many Egyptians who lived through Mubarak’s era view it as a period of autocracy and crony capitalism. His overthrow led to Egypt’s first free election. But the winner, Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, was ousted last year by then army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sissi after mass protests against his rule.

Sissi, who became president last year, launched a crackdown on Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. Authorities have jailed thousands of Brotherhood supporters and sentenced hundreds to death in mass trials that have drawn international criticism.

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February 21, 2015   Posted in: Egypt  Comments Closed

Egypt, Israel agree to double QIZ exports to US to $2 …

Egypt and Israelagreed to double duty-free textile exports to the United States to $2 billion within three years, according Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

In addition we agreed to explore adding other industrial sectors [to the QEZ framework] in which Israeli-Egyptian collaboration would have a competitive advantage, such as food and plastics, so that the agreement would contribute more to the Egyptian economy, to Israeli industry and peaceful relations between Israel and Egypt, said Gabi Bar, head of the Middle East desk at the Economy Ministry..

This amendment comes after 11 years of signing the agreement in 2004, after Israeli threats to write off 68 Egyptian companies from the QIZ area.

Our QIZ agreement with Egypt keeps getting stronger, said recently Ohad Cohen, who heads the Foreign Trade Administration in the Israeli Economy Ministry. It was strong under the Mubarak administration, but surprisingly got even stronger when Mohammed Morsy took over the leadership of Egypt in 2012 and now, with Abdel [Fattah] al-Sisi leading the country, it continues to flourish.

The Qualifying Industrial Zone agreement allow Egypt to take advantage of Israel and the United States free trade zone, exporting goods to the US duty-free if 10.5 percent of a products components are made in Israel.

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February 21, 2015   Posted in: Egypt  Comments Closed

Egypt 'doesn't mind' Israeli gas

A week after Reuters broke the news of talks between the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) and the American Noble Energy Company, which operates Israeli gas fields, the Ministry of Petroleum appears to publicly support a new policy that would allow the importation of Israeli gas.

In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel. Despite full diplomatic relations, official niceties and, many years later, US-encouraged commercial and business agreements between the two former enemies, normalisation with Israel remained taboo and was rejected by the wider public.

So when former president Hosni Mubarak approved a 20-year agreement to export Egyptian gas to Israel in 2005 it caused a political uproar that continued until his ouster in February 2011.

Not only was Egypt pumping natural gas directly to Israel, it was doing so at below-market prices through East Mediterranean Gas (EMG), then co-owned by Mubarak’s friend Hussein Salem and former Israeli Mossad agent Yossi Maiman, who then sold the gas to Israel at higher rates, pocketing the difference.

In the aftermath of the uprising that toppled Mubarak in 2011, Egypt unilaterally terminated this agreement, citing failures by the Israeli side to meet payment deadlines in violation of the contract.

The decision was met with relief and a sense of revolutionary achievement, but things did not end there. When Mubarak was referred for trial in 2011, the gas deal was added to the corruption charges (a Cairo court dismissed the charges three months ago because the charges were too old to fall within its jurisdiction.)

More than four years later, Egyptian officials are negotiating a reversal of the gas deal through the very same pipeline that exported the gas to Israel, according to Reuters and official statements attributed to top-level officials in the ministry of petroleum.

The sub-headline of the pro-government Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper’s lead story on 3 February proclaimed: “Egypt to confront summer blackouts with Israeli gas.” On 7 February the same newspaper quoted a minister who refused to be named as saying that Egypt “doesn’t mind” importing gas from Israel.”

He added that the “sovereign authorities,” an euphemism for the military, intelligence and presidency, had followed the talks between EGAS and Noble Energy but had not yet given them the go-ahead for an agreement.

Officials in the Ministry of Petroleum and EGAS could not be reached for comment.

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Egypt – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the modern country. For the ancient realm, see Ancient Egypt. Arab Republic of Egypt Jumhriyyat Mir al-Arabiyyah (Arabic) Gomhoreyyet Mar el-Arabeyya (Egyptian Arabic) Anthem:Bilady, Bilady, Bilady My country, my country, my country Capital and largest city Cairo 302N 3113E / 30.033N 31.217E / 30.033; 31.217 Official languages Arabic[a] National language Egyptian Arabic Demonym Egyptian Government Unitary semi-presidential republic – President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi – Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab Legislature Legislation by presidential decree (Temporarily until the House of Representatives is elected) Establishment – Unification of Upper and Lower Egypt[1][2][c] c. 3150 BC – Muhammad Ali Dynasty inaugurated 9 July 1805[3] – Independence from the United Kingdom 28 February 1922 – Republic declared 18 June 1953 – Revolution Day 23 July 1952 – Current Constitution 18 January 2014 Area – Total 1,002,450km2 (30th) 387,048sqmi – Water(%) 0.632 Population – 2015estimate 87,900,000[4] (15th) – 2006census 72,798,000[5] – Density 84/km2 (126th) 218/sqmi GDP(PPP) 2015estimate – Total $996.551 billion[6] – Per capita $11,443[6] GDP(nominal) 2015estimate – Total $324.267 billion[6] – Per capita $3,723[6] Gini(2008) 30.8[7] medium HDI (2013) 0.682[8] medium 110th Currency Egyptian pound (EGP) Time zone EET (UTC+2) – Summer(DST) EEST(UTC+3[b]) Drives on the right Calling code +20 ISO 3166 code EG Internet TLD a. ^ Literary Arabic is the sole official language.[9] Egyptian Arabic is the national spoken language. Other dialects and minority languages are spoken regionally. b. ^ Summer time was reintroduced in 2014. c. “Among the peoples of the ancient Near East, only the Egyptians have stayed where they were and remained what they were, although they have changed their language once and their religion twice. In a sense, they constitute the world’s oldest nation”.[10][11] Arthur Goldschmidt Jr.

Egypt (i//; Arabic: Mir, Egyptian Arabic: Mar) is an Afro-Asiatic transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia, via a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Most of Egypt’s territory of 1,010,000 square kilometres (390,000sqmi) lies within the Nile Valley of North Africa, but it is also considered a Mediterranean country as it is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north. It is also bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba to the east, the Red Sea to the east and south, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.

With over 87 million inhabitants, Egypt is the largest country in North Africa and the Arab World, the third-largest in Africa, and the fifteenth-most populous in the world. The great majority of its people live near the banks of the Nile River, an area of about 40,000 square kilometres (15,000sqmi), where the only arable land is found. The large regions of the Sahara Desert, which constitute most of Egypt’s territory, are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt’s residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.

Egypt has one of the longest histories of any modern country, arising in the tenth millennium BCE as one of the world’s first nation states.[12] Considered a cradle of civilization, Ancient Egypt experienced some of the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanisation, organised religion and central government in history. Iconic monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings, reflect this legacy and remain a significant focus of archaeological study and popular interest worldwide. Egypt’s rich cultural heritage is an integral part of its national identity, having endured and at times assimilated various foreign influences, including Greek, Persian, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and European.

Modern Egypt is considered to be a regional and middle power, with significant cultural, political, and military influence in North Africa, the Middle East and the Muslim world.[13] Its economy is one of the largest and most diversified in the Middle East, with sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry and services at almost equal production levels. In 2011, long term President Hosni Mubarak stepped down amid mass protests. Later elections saw the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was ousted by the army a year later amid mass protests.

The English name Egypt is derived from the Ancient Greek Agyptos (), via Middle French Egypte and Latin Aegyptus. It is reflected in early Greek Linear B tablets as a-ku-pi-ti-yo. The adjective aigpti-, aigptios was borrowed into Coptic as gyptios, and from there into Arabic as qub, back formed into qub, whence English Copt. The Greek forms were borrowed from Late Egyptian (Amarna) Hikuptah “Memphis”, a corruption of the earlier Egyptian name Hwt-ka-Ptah (wt-k-pt), meaning “home of the ka (soul) of Ptah”, the name of a temple to the god Ptah at Memphis.[14]Strabo attributed the word to a folk etymology in which Agyptos () evolved as a compound from Aigaiou huptis (A ), meaning “below the Aegean”.

Mir, (IPA:[mesr]; Arabic: ) is the Classical Quranic Arabic and modern official name of Egypt, while Mar (IPA:[ms]; Egyptian Arabic: ) is the local pronunciation in Egyptian Arabic. The name is of Semitic origin, directly cognate with other Semitic words for Egypt such as the Hebrew (Mitzryim).[15] The word originally connoted “metropolis” or “civilization” and means “country”, or “frontier-land”.

The ancient Egyptian name of the country was km.t, which means black ground or black soil, referring to the fertile black soils of the Nile flood plains, distinct from the deshret (dt), or “red land” of the desert.[16] This name is commonly vocalised as Kemet, but was probably pronounced [kumat] in ancient Egyptian.[17] The name is realised as kme and km in the Coptic stage of the Egyptian language, and appeared in early Greek as (Khma).[18] Another name was t-mry “land of the riverbank”.[19] The names of Upper and Lower Egypt were Ta-Sheme’aw (t-mw) “sedgeland” and Ta-Mehew (t mw) “northland”, respectively.

There is evidence of rock carvings along the Nile terraces and in desert oases. In the 10th millennium BC, a culture of hunter-gatherers and fishers was replaced by a grain-grinding culture. Climate changes or overgrazing around 8000 BC began to desiccate the pastoral lands of Egypt, forming the Sahara. Early tribal peoples migrated to the Nile River where they developed a settled agricultural economy and more centralised society.[20]

By about 6000 BC, a Neolithic culture rooted in the Nile Valley.[21] During the Neolithic era, several predynastic cultures developed independently in Upper and Lower Egypt. The Badarian culture and the successor Naqada series are generally regarded as precursors to dynastic Egypt. The earliest known Lower Egyptian site, Merimda, predates the Badarian by about seven hundred years. Contemporaneous Lower Egyptian communities coexisted with their southern counterparts for more than two thousand years, remaining culturally distinct, but maintaining frequent contact through trade. The earliest known evidence of Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions appeared during the predynastic period on Naqada III pottery vessels, dated to about 3200 BC.[22]

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Israel: The Road To Palestinian Victory Is Paved With Lobbyists

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Israel: The Road To Palestinian Victory Is Paved With Lobbyists

January 27, 2015: On December 31 stthe Palestinians applied to join the ICC International Criminal Court). This follows the Palestinian failure to get the UN to order Israeli troops withdrawn from the West Bank. The political theater at the UN, where Palestinian supporters (mainly other Moslem states) ignore the Palestinian worship of terrorism while declaring Israeli efforts to defend itself a war crime means that there is automatic support for just about anything the Palestinians want. Israel expects that Palestinian attempts to prosecute Israel for war crimes will backfire. Thats because far more Palestinians are killed by other Palestinians (and other Arabs) than by Israelis. For example over 2,500 Palestinians have been killed in the Syrian Civil War since 2011. Hundreds were tortured to death and more than that were executed, often in gruesome ways, for being on the wrong side or for blasphemy. In Gaza hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in factional fighting or executed by Hamas for various offenses (like disagreeing with Hamas rule.) In the last half century more far more Palestinians have been killed by Arabs than Israelis. This would appear to be a more significant target for ICC investigation than the much smaller number of Palestinians killed by Israelis. Arab countries block such investigations in the UN and ICC, usually with success. Despite potential problems with the ICC the long-term Palestinian plan is working. This bothers Israelis a great deal. That plan involves continually demanding UN help to obtain recognition there as a sort of state and build on that to get the UN to impose economic and military sanctions on Israel for imaginary war crimes. Arab oil states have been throwing their money around for decades in the UN, to get nations to go along with meaningless resolutions condemning Israel, so this plan has a chance of success. Arab oil money has also been spent to lobby potential allies throughout the West. This has worked quite well in Europe, less well in the Americas. Money talks at the UN and there are many states willing to sell their support if the price is right. Now the Palestinians want resolutions with teeth but that may prove a scam too far. For a growing number of Israelis there is fear that Arab lobbyists may end up doing more damage to Israel than Arab Islamic terrorists or soldiers ever could.

Israel still has friends in Europe. For example Germany has been very useful in expanding the Israeli Navy. Germany has agreed to build four offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for Israel. Exact specifications were not released but apparently the design is based on the Meko 100, a 1,600 ton warship that has been built in many different versions. Israel wants the Germans to build what amounts to a larger version of their successful Saar family of warships for about $146 million each. This includes a large genocide guilt discount. Right now the largest Saar ships are the three 1,075 ton Saar 5s. In addition to surface warships German shipyards continue to build submarines for Israel. In September 2014 Israel received the fourth of six Dolphin class submarines from Germany. This the first of three new Dolphins that have a fuel cell based AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) system which enables them to stay under water for over a week at a time. The Dolphins in general are also very quiet, and very difficult to hunt down and destroy. The first three Dolphins didn’t have the AIP system. Germany will deliver the next Dolphin class boat in 2015 and the last one in 2019. The first three arrived in 1998-2000. The second three Dolphins cost about $650 million each, with Germany picking up a third of the cost on two of them. The first two Dolphins were paid for by Germany, as was most of the cost of the third one. This is more of German reparations for World War II atrocities against Jews. The three older boats have since been upgraded to include larger fuel capacity, converting more torpedo tubes to the larger 650mm size, and installing new electronics. The fuel and torpedo tube mods appear to have something to do with stationing the subs off the coast of Iran. Larger torpedo tubes allow the subs to carry longer range missiles. The larger fuel capacity makes it easier to move Dolphins from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Although Israel has a naval base on the Red Sea, Egypt, until 2012, did not allowed Israeli subs to use the Suez Canal. So the Dolphins were modified to go around Africa, if they had to.

In Gaza Egyptian security forces continue searching for, finding and destroying smuggling tunnels to Gaza. These are more difficult to build now that there is a 500 meter security zone along the Gaza border and more police scrutiny on the Egyptian side. Yet the tunnels can still be very lucrative, not just for consumer goods but also for moving Islamic terrorists and weapons back and forth. Egypt is in the midst of increasing the buffer zone along the Gaza border from 500 to 1,000 meters. This process involves buying and destroying over 1,200 additional buildings.

January 26, 2015: Israel has begun expanding its barriers along the Syrian border by adding a trench to the fence. Israel has also apparently moved one or more Iron Dome batteries north to help guard the Syrian border. The Israeli government also issued warnings to Lebanon and Hezbollah that any Hezbollah efforts to attack Israeli targets overseas (embassies, tourists, businesses) would bring retaliation against Hezbollah inside Lebanon and that might include non-Hezbollah targets in Lebanon. Hezbollah announced over the weekend that it would not go to war with Israel but Israel knows from past experience that this does not rule out attacks on Israeli or Jewish targets outside the Middle East. This is what Hezbollah did, several times, after the beating they took during their 2006 war with Israel (which Hezbollah declared a victory for themselves but internal discussions were much less optimistic). The recent Israeli air strike in Syria that killed several Hezbollah leaders and an Iranian general working with them led Hezbollah to accuse Israel of changing the (unwritten) rules of who could attack who. Islamic terrorists consider it bad manners for the victims of their aggression to go after Islamic terrorist leaders. Neither side has ever really observed that unwritten rule but Hezbollah now asserts that it did. That was because Israeli security was so effective that Hezbollah generally did not even try to kill Israeli leaders. At the same time Hezbollah increased the security measures for its own leaders, making it more difficult (but not impossible) for Israel to get through. Hezbollah forces in Syria are more vulnerable because it is a combat zone and Hezbollah security against Israeli air strikes is much less effective. Hezbollah thought it had an arrangement with Israel whereby Hezbollah did not conduct operations along the Lebanese border and Israel would refrain from attacking Hezbollah targets. But since Hezbollah still calls destroying Israel their main goal, and their operations in Syria are only a diversion (forced them on their patron Iran), the Israelis consider it foolish to give Hezbollah any breaks.

Syria and Hezbollah are accusing Israel of being an al Qaeda/ISIL ally by attacking Hezbollah in Syria. The fact is that al Qaeda (and, so far, ISIL) has not made any attacks on Israel (mainly because it is so difficult) while Hezbollah has. Israel is no friend of al Qaeda or ISIL but Hezbollah is the more immediate threat. Syria has also been calling for the destruction of Israel since the 1940s and has regularly been on the receiving end of Israeli attacks because Syria has long provided sanctuary for all manner of terrorist groups, especially ones that tried to kill Jews.

In Gaza Hamas launched ten locally made rockets into the Mediterranean. This is the first such test of 2015. The last such test was in December. Hamas has resumed rocket production and since August has test fired dozens of unguided rockets (towards the Mediterranean so as not to violate the ceasefire). Hamas is building some rockets with a range of over 50 kilometers.

January 25, 2015: In Egypt Islamic radicals attacked celebrations of the fourth anniversary of the 2011 revolution that overthrew the Mubarak government. The violence left at least 18 dead. Many Egyptians are upset that the 2011 revolution changed so little. The problem was that ousting Mubarak did nothing to the thousands of wealthy families that actually run Egypt and long benefitted from Mubarak rule (in return for loyalty and support). When the Moslem Brotherhood got elected to form a government they made the mistake of giving into their radical faction and trying to impose Islamic law on all Egyptians. This was very unpopular and the Moslem Brotherhood was overthrown by another popular uprising in 2013. Then another (like Mubarak) military man was elected president and it was back to business as usual. One side effect of that was a court dismissing most of the charges against Mubarak who is now apparently going to escape any real punishment, as are his sons. That decision brought more protestors out not enough to overthrow the new military government. Most Egyptians was to see if the new government can get the economy going and restore order. The new government probably will, but at the cost of any real efforts to curb corruption.

Egypt announced that its security forces had killed 2008 Islamic terrorists in 2014 and arrested 955 suspects (half of them later released without charge). The violence continues, but less and less so as time goes on. The government points out that Egypt has lost $40 billion in tourist revenue since 2011 because of Islamic terrorist violence and that resonates with most of the 90 million Egyptians.

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Egypt Court Orders Retrial of Mubarak in Corruption Case

Egypt’s top appeals court on Tuesday ordered the retrial of deposed President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons in a corruption case, a move that could pave the way for the former autocrat’s release during the new proceedings.

The Appeals Court’s verdict overturned an earlier verdict, which sentenced Mubarak to three years imprisonment and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, to four years each while four other defendants in the case were acquitted. Mubarak’s lawyers appealed that ruling.

It’s the only case keeping Mubarak behind bars.

The former president has been cleared in the case over the killings of protesters during Egypt’s 2011 uprising that toppled him, after a judge ruled that the charges were “inadmissible” on a technicality. But the same judge also described the uprising ? one of the firsts that swept the region in what later became known as the Arab Spring ? as part of an all alleged “American-Hebrew conspiracy” to undermine Arab countries for Israel’s benefit.

That ruling was a blow to the pro-democracy groups and youth groups that spearheaded the “revolution” against Mubarak.

Tuesday’s decision could pave the way for Mubarak’s release ? once a new court convenes in the retrial. The tribunal can order Mubarak freed pending trial.

However, Mubarak’s chief lawyer Farid el-Deeb told state-run Al Ahram newspaper that he believes that the ex-president was a free man as soon as Tuesday’s decision was announced.

His legal interpretation could not immediately be verified.

The corruption case ? dubbed by Egyptian media as the “presidential palaces” affair ? is linked to charges that the three Mubaraks embezzled millions of dollars’ worth of state funds over a decade toward the end of Mubarak’s rule. The funds were meant for renovating and maintaining presidential palaces but were instead spent on upgrading the family’s private residences.

Mubarak and his sons were also fined 21.1 million Egyptian pounds ($2.9 million) and ordered to reimburse 125 million Egyptian pounds ($17.6 million) to the state treasury.

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Egypt bans festival to honour Rabbi

Egypt has banned an annual festival, which attracted hundreds of Jewish pilgrims, in honour of a Moroccan rabbi renowned for performing miracles.

An Egyptian court has banned a festival honouring a Moroccan rabbi. (Reuters)

After the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, Egypt began allowing organised and heavily secured trips to the tomb of Yaakov Abu Hatzira in the Nile Delta province of Beheira, south of Alexandria. The Culture Ministry declared the site an Egyptian cultural monument in 2001.

The Administrative Court of Alexandria banned the visits and stripped the ministrys designation. It acted on a complaint filed by local residents who objected to the mingling of men and women and the consumption of alcohol at the festival, and claimed that strict security measures applied during the festival negatively affected their normal daily life.

Abu Hatzira, born in northern Morocco in 1805, was a son of the chief Rabbi of Morocco. He fell ill during a visit to the sacred sites in Jerusalem and died in Egypt in 1879. His grave became a shrine built on a small plot of land in the largely rural Nile Delta province.

He is revered by some Jews as a mystic renowned for his piety and for performing miracles. The annual festival has in the past drawn hundreds of religious pilgrims each year, mostly Jews from Israel, Morocco and France.

Jewish community The tomb is a vestige of Egypts once-prosperous and thriving Jewish community, which dates back to the time before Moses. At the time of the founding of Israel in 1948, they numbered about 80000 people. But the multiple Arab-Israeli wars, and the resentment and expulsions that they engendered, have reduced Egypts Jewish community to a few dozen elderly people in Alexandria and Cairo, according to the Israeli embassy.

The annual religious festival has been a long-term source of controversy in Egypt. A court cancelled the event in 2001, but it was later resumed. In 2009, the Egyptian government banned Jewish pilgrims from entering because it took place during the Israeli governments Cast Lead offensive in the Gaza Strip; officials said they could not guarantee the pilgrims safety at a time of intense public anger toward Israel.

In 2010, Egyptian security authorities arrested 25 men suspected of forming a new Islamic militant group that planned to carry out attacks on targets inside Egypt including the tomb of Abu Hatzira. In 2012, the government called off the festival, citing political instability in the wake of the 2011 revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak from power.

Mondays court ruling, if it stands, seeks to permanently ban the festival. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said his office is examining the decision of the local Egyptian court and, if necessary, will approach the Egyptian authorities about the issue and stress the importance of freedom of worship.

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December 30, 2014   Posted in: Egypt  Comments Closed

The Egypt-Israel peace treaty is dead – Israel News | Haaretz

I dont like the Egyptian-Israeli Peace treaty anymore. No, not because I reject peace with Israel quite the opposite. In politics as in ones personal life, we are surrounded by a dynamic and changing environment. Just as I cant support institutions such as marriage where the contract between people are decided at one point in time and cant be updated again, I cant understand the rationality for countries to have fixed contracts between them that cannot be updated decades after they were signed. The Egypt: Israel peace deal is a model from the 1970s that has never been updated and which has become just a piece of paper which cant promote or protect peace between our countries any more. The 1979 fixed contract no longer works for either side and thus we have a choice: either update the peace treaty, or watch the peace agreement fail. President Anwar Sadat wanted a real peace, but since his assassination in 1981, the Egyptian authorities have related to the 1979 treaty as a ceasefire deal and not as a true peace treaty. They are still dreaming of revenge for their successive losses in previous wars against Israel. 33 years after the peace treaty, Israel still doesnt exist on official Egyptian maps. When young Egyptian students study geography, they find only Palestine on their state-printed books. Egypt has not canceled a law was made before the peace treaty which criminalizes Zionism, and punishes any Egyptian Zionist by removing his citizenship. Ex-President Mubarak, who was called a friend of Israel by successive Israeli leaders, was in power for three decades and never tried to drop this law. Indeed, when revolutionaries invaded State Security Investigation offices in February 2011, they found a department there under the name of Countering Zionism. But Egyptian authorities never made a clear definition of Zionism. This meant that simply calling for peace between Israel and Egypt could be considered a crime if the authorities wanted, just as the same authorities banned Jehovahs Witnesses in Egypt for their support for peace and co-existence. The Egyptian authorities are still training young army officers to believe that Israel is their only enemy, and force young recruits to say every day that Jews are enemies of Allah. State syndicates still refuse any kind of normalization with Israel. The state-owned media still run anti-Israel propaganda. It was an ex-military officer (not a revolutionary) who accused Israel of sending sharks to Sharm el-Sheikh in 2010 to attack tourists and destroy Egypts tourist industry. Egyptians have to get permission from Egyptian Military Intelligence if they want to visit Israel, and the same agencies target Egyptian peace activists and call them Israeli spies, which is exactly what they did to me. Thats all before mentioning how the military facilitated the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo last year, and ongoing terrorist attacks across Israels borders. We need to remember that in the context of the 1979 treaty, the Egyptian people feel they have been deceived. They know that there were two foundations to the treaty: Returning Sinai to Egypt, and making progress in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. In terms of the first point: some Israeli politicians speak about reoccupying the Sinai, or giving it to the Palestinians. Its hard for Egyptians to trust someone who talks about invading your country for the third time, gets elected and participates in the Israeli government. Regarding the second foundation: There is no progress in the peace talks with the Palestinians. Peace with Palestinians is no longer on the agenda of the Israeli government. 1979 was supposed to enable Israel to coexist with its neighbors in the Middle East, not to force Egypt into the same isolated sphere as Israel. Egyptians are not an anti-Semitic people; they are moral people who care about Palestinians who suffer because of the occupation and increasing settlement-building on their land. My people feels deceived when an Israeli leader speaks about annexing the West Bank to Israel, or about living with the conflict forever, at a time when there is a Palestinian leader who truly believes in peace and the right of Israel to exist. This wasnt our deal. Its Israel that risks the peace treaty when it ignores Palestinian rights, not Egyptians when they are pro-Palestinian. Israel may be a democracy, but as in Egypt, there is a major gap between the rhetoric of politicians and the views of normal citizens.

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March 21, 2015   Posted in: Egypt  Comments Closed

Egypt pins hopes on investment summit

(MENAFN – Gulf Times) After four years of political turmoil, Egypt is staking its economic revival on an investment summit in Sharm el-Sheikh it hopes will burnish its image and attract billions of dollars. The gathering, to be attended by global chief executives and officials including the International Monetary Fund’s Christine Lagarde and US Secretary of State John Kerry, is not just about money. Egypt hopes the March 13-15 event will put it back on investor radar by projecting an image of stability, despite an Islamist insurgency in northern Sinai and militant attacks across the country. Economic reforms, including cuts in energy subsidies, a long-awaited law cutting red tape, and efforts to eliminate the currency black market, have won praise. But some in the international community still doubt Egypt-a US ally that controls the Suez Canal and has a peace treaty with Israel-is serious about democratic change and human rights. If the summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh succeeds, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi could claim to be making progress on the economy and keep attention away from one of the fiercest crackdowns on dissent in Egypt’s history. Analysts say the economy could make or break Sisi, who as army chief deposed elected President Mohamed Mursi in 2013 after mass protests against Mursi’s rule. Hundreds of deaths and thousands of detentions followed, raising questions about the country’s democratic credentials four years after an uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak. Sisi has restored a degree of stability and raised hopes of economic recovery with the announcement of infrastructure mega-projects, including a multi-billion dollar expansion of the Suez Canal-reminiscent of the grandiose programme of late Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser. Sisi has promised to make a clean break from the past, when the state dominated the economy and businessmen close to Mubarak profited under crony capitalism. The investment conference, where at least a few international companies are expected to announce deals with the government, has put a spotlight on whether Egypt can deliver on lofty promises. “It’s putting on a show and saying this is what we want to show you, and if they don’t meet those targets then obviously they will be deemed to fail,” said Angus Blair, chairman of business and economic forecasting think-tank Signet. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, who backed the Brotherhood’s overthrow, have kept Egypt’s economy afloat with 23bn in oil shipments, cash grants and central bank deposits.

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March 12, 2015   Posted in: Egypt  Comments Closed

Egypt court acquits ex-oil minister of charges of selling cheap gas to Israel

REUTERS – An Egyptian court acquitted former oil minister Sameh Fahmy of charges of selling cheap gas to Israel and squandering public funds and threw out his 15-year jail sentence, a judicial source said on Saturday. Fahmy was first arrested and held in custody in April 2011. Prosecutors said former president Hosni Mubarak’s government sold gas at preferential rates to Israel and other countries, costing Egypt billions of dollars in lost revenue. The ruling is likely to raise fears among human rights activists that the old guard was making a comeback, especially as it came after a court in November dropped charges against Mubarak of conspiring to kill protesters in the 2011 uprising as well as graft changes related to gas exports to Israel. Fahmy was sentenced in June 2012 and had successfully appealed his sentence in 2013. The Court of Cassation ordered a retrial and Fahmy was released shortly after. The judicial source said the Cairo Criminal Court found Fahmy and five others innocent of the charges. “The verdict is the headline of the truth. The court heard the witnesses’ statements and had faith that the defendants did not commit any violations and therefore the court issued the innocence verdict,” Fahmy’s lawyer, Gameel Saeed, told Reuters. A security source said Fahmy did not appear at Saturday’s court session. Saturday’s ruling did not apply to Hussein Salem, a major shareholder in East Mediterranean Gas, which exported the gas to Israel. Salem was given a 15-year prison sentence in absentia by the court in June 2012. He had fled to Spain after the uprising. Many Egyptians who lived through Mubarak’s era view it as a period of autocracy and crony capitalism. His overthrow led to Egypt’s first free election. But the winner, Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, was ousted last year by then army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sissi after mass protests against his rule. Sissi, who became president last year, launched a crackdown on Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. Authorities have jailed thousands of Brotherhood supporters and sentenced hundreds to death in mass trials that have drawn international criticism.

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February 21, 2015   Posted in: Egypt  Comments Closed

Egypt, Israel agree to double QIZ exports to US to $2 …

Egypt and Israelagreed to double duty-free textile exports to the United States to $2 billion within three years, according Israeli newspaper Haaretz. In addition we agreed to explore adding other industrial sectors [to the QEZ framework] in which Israeli-Egyptian collaboration would have a competitive advantage, such as food and plastics, so that the agreement would contribute more to the Egyptian economy, to Israeli industry and peaceful relations between Israel and Egypt, said Gabi Bar, head of the Middle East desk at the Economy Ministry.. This amendment comes after 11 years of signing the agreement in 2004, after Israeli threats to write off 68 Egyptian companies from the QIZ area. Our QIZ agreement with Egypt keeps getting stronger, said recently Ohad Cohen, who heads the Foreign Trade Administration in the Israeli Economy Ministry. It was strong under the Mubarak administration, but surprisingly got even stronger when Mohammed Morsy took over the leadership of Egypt in 2012 and now, with Abdel [Fattah] al-Sisi leading the country, it continues to flourish. The Qualifying Industrial Zone agreement allow Egypt to take advantage of Israel and the United States free trade zone, exporting goods to the US duty-free if 10.5 percent of a products components are made in Israel.

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February 21, 2015   Posted in: Egypt  Comments Closed

Egypt 'doesn't mind' Israeli gas

A week after Reuters broke the news of talks between the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) and the American Noble Energy Company, which operates Israeli gas fields, the Ministry of Petroleum appears to publicly support a new policy that would allow the importation of Israeli gas. In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel. Despite full diplomatic relations, official niceties and, many years later, US-encouraged commercial and business agreements between the two former enemies, normalisation with Israel remained taboo and was rejected by the wider public. So when former president Hosni Mubarak approved a 20-year agreement to export Egyptian gas to Israel in 2005 it caused a political uproar that continued until his ouster in February 2011. Not only was Egypt pumping natural gas directly to Israel, it was doing so at below-market prices through East Mediterranean Gas (EMG), then co-owned by Mubarak’s friend Hussein Salem and former Israeli Mossad agent Yossi Maiman, who then sold the gas to Israel at higher rates, pocketing the difference. In the aftermath of the uprising that toppled Mubarak in 2011, Egypt unilaterally terminated this agreement, citing failures by the Israeli side to meet payment deadlines in violation of the contract. The decision was met with relief and a sense of revolutionary achievement, but things did not end there. When Mubarak was referred for trial in 2011, the gas deal was added to the corruption charges (a Cairo court dismissed the charges three months ago because the charges were too old to fall within its jurisdiction.) More than four years later, Egyptian officials are negotiating a reversal of the gas deal through the very same pipeline that exported the gas to Israel, according to Reuters and official statements attributed to top-level officials in the ministry of petroleum. The sub-headline of the pro-government Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper’s lead story on 3 February proclaimed: “Egypt to confront summer blackouts with Israeli gas.” On 7 February the same newspaper quoted a minister who refused to be named as saying that Egypt “doesn’t mind” importing gas from Israel.” He added that the “sovereign authorities,” an euphemism for the military, intelligence and presidency, had followed the talks between EGAS and Noble Energy but had not yet given them the go-ahead for an agreement. Officials in the Ministry of Petroleum and EGAS could not be reached for comment.

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February 13, 2015   Posted in: Egypt  Comments Closed

Egypt – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the modern country. For the ancient realm, see Ancient Egypt. Arab Republic of Egypt Jumhriyyat Mir al-Arabiyyah (Arabic) Gomhoreyyet Mar el-Arabeyya (Egyptian Arabic) Anthem:Bilady, Bilady, Bilady My country, my country, my country Capital and largest city Cairo 302N 3113E / 30.033N 31.217E / 30.033; 31.217 Official languages Arabic[a] National language Egyptian Arabic Demonym Egyptian Government Unitary semi-presidential republic – President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi – Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab Legislature Legislation by presidential decree (Temporarily until the House of Representatives is elected) Establishment – Unification of Upper and Lower Egypt[1][2][c] c. 3150 BC – Muhammad Ali Dynasty inaugurated 9 July 1805[3] – Independence from the United Kingdom 28 February 1922 – Republic declared 18 June 1953 – Revolution Day 23 July 1952 – Current Constitution 18 January 2014 Area – Total 1,002,450km2 (30th) 387,048sqmi – Water(%) 0.632 Population – 2015estimate 87,900,000[4] (15th) – 2006census 72,798,000[5] – Density 84/km2 (126th) 218/sqmi GDP(PPP) 2015estimate – Total $996.551 billion[6] – Per capita $11,443[6] GDP(nominal) 2015estimate – Total $324.267 billion[6] – Per capita $3,723[6] Gini(2008) 30.8[7] medium HDI (2013) 0.682[8] medium 110th Currency Egyptian pound (EGP) Time zone EET (UTC+2) – Summer(DST) EEST(UTC+3[b]) Drives on the right Calling code +20 ISO 3166 code EG Internet TLD a. ^ Literary Arabic is the sole official language.[9] Egyptian Arabic is the national spoken language. Other dialects and minority languages are spoken regionally. b. ^ Summer time was reintroduced in 2014. c. “Among the peoples of the ancient Near East, only the Egyptians have stayed where they were and remained what they were, although they have changed their language once and their religion twice. In a sense, they constitute the world’s oldest nation”.[10][11] Arthur Goldschmidt Jr. Egypt (i//; Arabic: Mir, Egyptian Arabic: Mar) is an Afro-Asiatic transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia, via a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Most of Egypt’s territory of 1,010,000 square kilometres (390,000sqmi) lies within the Nile Valley of North Africa, but it is also considered a Mediterranean country as it is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north. It is also bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba to the east, the Red Sea to the east and south, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west. With over 87 million inhabitants, Egypt is the largest country in North Africa and the Arab World, the third-largest in Africa, and the fifteenth-most populous in the world. The great majority of its people live near the banks of the Nile River, an area of about 40,000 square kilometres (15,000sqmi), where the only arable land is found. The large regions of the Sahara Desert, which constitute most of Egypt’s territory, are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt’s residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta. Egypt has one of the longest histories of any modern country, arising in the tenth millennium BCE as one of the world’s first nation states.[12] Considered a cradle of civilization, Ancient Egypt experienced some of the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanisation, organised religion and central government in history. Iconic monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings, reflect this legacy and remain a significant focus of archaeological study and popular interest worldwide. Egypt’s rich cultural heritage is an integral part of its national identity, having endured and at times assimilated various foreign influences, including Greek, Persian, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and European. Modern Egypt is considered to be a regional and middle power, with significant cultural, political, and military influence in North Africa, the Middle East and the Muslim world.[13] Its economy is one of the largest and most diversified in the Middle East, with sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry and services at almost equal production levels. In 2011, long term President Hosni Mubarak stepped down amid mass protests. Later elections saw the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was ousted by the army a year later amid mass protests. The English name Egypt is derived from the Ancient Greek Agyptos (), via Middle French Egypte and Latin Aegyptus. It is reflected in early Greek Linear B tablets as a-ku-pi-ti-yo. The adjective aigpti-, aigptios was borrowed into Coptic as gyptios, and from there into Arabic as qub, back formed into qub, whence English Copt. The Greek forms were borrowed from Late Egyptian (Amarna) Hikuptah “Memphis”, a corruption of the earlier Egyptian name Hwt-ka-Ptah (wt-k-pt), meaning “home of the ka (soul) of Ptah”, the name of a temple to the god Ptah at Memphis.[14]Strabo attributed the word to a folk etymology in which Agyptos () evolved as a compound from Aigaiou huptis (A ), meaning “below the Aegean”. Mir, (IPA:[mesr]; Arabic: ) is the Classical Quranic Arabic and modern official name of Egypt, while Mar (IPA:[ms]; Egyptian Arabic: ) is the local pronunciation in Egyptian Arabic. The name is of Semitic origin, directly cognate with other Semitic words for Egypt such as the Hebrew (Mitzryim).[15] The word originally connoted “metropolis” or “civilization” and means “country”, or “frontier-land”. The ancient Egyptian name of the country was km.t, which means black ground or black soil, referring to the fertile black soils of the Nile flood plains, distinct from the deshret (dt), or “red land” of the desert.[16] This name is commonly vocalised as Kemet, but was probably pronounced [kumat] in ancient Egyptian.[17] The name is realised as kme and km in the Coptic stage of the Egyptian language, and appeared in early Greek as (Khma).[18] Another name was t-mry “land of the riverbank”.[19] The names of Upper and Lower Egypt were Ta-Sheme’aw (t-mw) “sedgeland” and Ta-Mehew (t mw) “northland”, respectively. There is evidence of rock carvings along the Nile terraces and in desert oases. In the 10th millennium BC, a culture of hunter-gatherers and fishers was replaced by a grain-grinding culture. Climate changes or overgrazing around 8000 BC began to desiccate the pastoral lands of Egypt, forming the Sahara. Early tribal peoples migrated to the Nile River where they developed a settled agricultural economy and more centralised society.[20] By about 6000 BC, a Neolithic culture rooted in the Nile Valley.[21] During the Neolithic era, several predynastic cultures developed independently in Upper and Lower Egypt. The Badarian culture and the successor Naqada series are generally regarded as precursors to dynastic Egypt. The earliest known Lower Egyptian site, Merimda, predates the Badarian by about seven hundred years. Contemporaneous Lower Egyptian communities coexisted with their southern counterparts for more than two thousand years, remaining culturally distinct, but maintaining frequent contact through trade. The earliest known evidence of Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions appeared during the predynastic period on Naqada III pottery vessels, dated to about 3200 BC.[22]

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February 6, 2015   Posted in: Egypt  Comments Closed

Israel: The Road To Palestinian Victory Is Paved With Lobbyists

Latest News Most Read Hot Topics Israel: The Road To Palestinian Victory Is Paved With Lobbyists January 27, 2015: On December 31 stthe Palestinians applied to join the ICC International Criminal Court). This follows the Palestinian failure to get the UN to order Israeli troops withdrawn from the West Bank. The political theater at the UN, where Palestinian supporters (mainly other Moslem states) ignore the Palestinian worship of terrorism while declaring Israeli efforts to defend itself a war crime means that there is automatic support for just about anything the Palestinians want. Israel expects that Palestinian attempts to prosecute Israel for war crimes will backfire. Thats because far more Palestinians are killed by other Palestinians (and other Arabs) than by Israelis. For example over 2,500 Palestinians have been killed in the Syrian Civil War since 2011. Hundreds were tortured to death and more than that were executed, often in gruesome ways, for being on the wrong side or for blasphemy. In Gaza hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in factional fighting or executed by Hamas for various offenses (like disagreeing with Hamas rule.) In the last half century more far more Palestinians have been killed by Arabs than Israelis. This would appear to be a more significant target for ICC investigation than the much smaller number of Palestinians killed by Israelis. Arab countries block such investigations in the UN and ICC, usually with success. Despite potential problems with the ICC the long-term Palestinian plan is working. This bothers Israelis a great deal. That plan involves continually demanding UN help to obtain recognition there as a sort of state and build on that to get the UN to impose economic and military sanctions on Israel for imaginary war crimes. Arab oil states have been throwing their money around for decades in the UN, to get nations to go along with meaningless resolutions condemning Israel, so this plan has a chance of success. Arab oil money has also been spent to lobby potential allies throughout the West. This has worked quite well in Europe, less well in the Americas. Money talks at the UN and there are many states willing to sell their support if the price is right. Now the Palestinians want resolutions with teeth but that may prove a scam too far. For a growing number of Israelis there is fear that Arab lobbyists may end up doing more damage to Israel than Arab Islamic terrorists or soldiers ever could. Israel still has friends in Europe. For example Germany has been very useful in expanding the Israeli Navy. Germany has agreed to build four offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for Israel. Exact specifications were not released but apparently the design is based on the Meko 100, a 1,600 ton warship that has been built in many different versions. Israel wants the Germans to build what amounts to a larger version of their successful Saar family of warships for about $146 million each. This includes a large genocide guilt discount. Right now the largest Saar ships are the three 1,075 ton Saar 5s. In addition to surface warships German shipyards continue to build submarines for Israel. In September 2014 Israel received the fourth of six Dolphin class submarines from Germany. This the first of three new Dolphins that have a fuel cell based AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) system which enables them to stay under water for over a week at a time. The Dolphins in general are also very quiet, and very difficult to hunt down and destroy. The first three Dolphins didn’t have the AIP system. Germany will deliver the next Dolphin class boat in 2015 and the last one in 2019. The first three arrived in 1998-2000. The second three Dolphins cost about $650 million each, with Germany picking up a third of the cost on two of them. The first two Dolphins were paid for by Germany, as was most of the cost of the third one. This is more of German reparations for World War II atrocities against Jews. The three older boats have since been upgraded to include larger fuel capacity, converting more torpedo tubes to the larger 650mm size, and installing new electronics. The fuel and torpedo tube mods appear to have something to do with stationing the subs off the coast of Iran. Larger torpedo tubes allow the subs to carry longer range missiles. The larger fuel capacity makes it easier to move Dolphins from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Although Israel has a naval base on the Red Sea, Egypt, until 2012, did not allowed Israeli subs to use the Suez Canal. So the Dolphins were modified to go around Africa, if they had to. In Gaza Egyptian security forces continue searching for, finding and destroying smuggling tunnels to Gaza. These are more difficult to build now that there is a 500 meter security zone along the Gaza border and more police scrutiny on the Egyptian side. Yet the tunnels can still be very lucrative, not just for consumer goods but also for moving Islamic terrorists and weapons back and forth. Egypt is in the midst of increasing the buffer zone along the Gaza border from 500 to 1,000 meters. This process involves buying and destroying over 1,200 additional buildings. January 26, 2015: Israel has begun expanding its barriers along the Syrian border by adding a trench to the fence. Israel has also apparently moved one or more Iron Dome batteries north to help guard the Syrian border. The Israeli government also issued warnings to Lebanon and Hezbollah that any Hezbollah efforts to attack Israeli targets overseas (embassies, tourists, businesses) would bring retaliation against Hezbollah inside Lebanon and that might include non-Hezbollah targets in Lebanon. Hezbollah announced over the weekend that it would not go to war with Israel but Israel knows from past experience that this does not rule out attacks on Israeli or Jewish targets outside the Middle East. This is what Hezbollah did, several times, after the beating they took during their 2006 war with Israel (which Hezbollah declared a victory for themselves but internal discussions were much less optimistic). The recent Israeli air strike in Syria that killed several Hezbollah leaders and an Iranian general working with them led Hezbollah to accuse Israel of changing the (unwritten) rules of who could attack who. Islamic terrorists consider it bad manners for the victims of their aggression to go after Islamic terrorist leaders. Neither side has ever really observed that unwritten rule but Hezbollah now asserts that it did. That was because Israeli security was so effective that Hezbollah generally did not even try to kill Israeli leaders. At the same time Hezbollah increased the security measures for its own leaders, making it more difficult (but not impossible) for Israel to get through. Hezbollah forces in Syria are more vulnerable because it is a combat zone and Hezbollah security against Israeli air strikes is much less effective. Hezbollah thought it had an arrangement with Israel whereby Hezbollah did not conduct operations along the Lebanese border and Israel would refrain from attacking Hezbollah targets. But since Hezbollah still calls destroying Israel their main goal, and their operations in Syria are only a diversion (forced them on their patron Iran), the Israelis consider it foolish to give Hezbollah any breaks. Syria and Hezbollah are accusing Israel of being an al Qaeda/ISIL ally by attacking Hezbollah in Syria. The fact is that al Qaeda (and, so far, ISIL) has not made any attacks on Israel (mainly because it is so difficult) while Hezbollah has. Israel is no friend of al Qaeda or ISIL but Hezbollah is the more immediate threat. Syria has also been calling for the destruction of Israel since the 1940s and has regularly been on the receiving end of Israeli attacks because Syria has long provided sanctuary for all manner of terrorist groups, especially ones that tried to kill Jews. In Gaza Hamas launched ten locally made rockets into the Mediterranean. This is the first such test of 2015. The last such test was in December. Hamas has resumed rocket production and since August has test fired dozens of unguided rockets (towards the Mediterranean so as not to violate the ceasefire). Hamas is building some rockets with a range of over 50 kilometers. January 25, 2015: In Egypt Islamic radicals attacked celebrations of the fourth anniversary of the 2011 revolution that overthrew the Mubarak government. The violence left at least 18 dead. Many Egyptians are upset that the 2011 revolution changed so little. The problem was that ousting Mubarak did nothing to the thousands of wealthy families that actually run Egypt and long benefitted from Mubarak rule (in return for loyalty and support). When the Moslem Brotherhood got elected to form a government they made the mistake of giving into their radical faction and trying to impose Islamic law on all Egyptians. This was very unpopular and the Moslem Brotherhood was overthrown by another popular uprising in 2013. Then another (like Mubarak) military man was elected president and it was back to business as usual. One side effect of that was a court dismissing most of the charges against Mubarak who is now apparently going to escape any real punishment, as are his sons. That decision brought more protestors out not enough to overthrow the new military government. Most Egyptians was to see if the new government can get the economy going and restore order. The new government probably will, but at the cost of any real efforts to curb corruption. Egypt announced that its security forces had killed 2008 Islamic terrorists in 2014 and arrested 955 suspects (half of them later released without charge). The violence continues, but less and less so as time goes on. The government points out that Egypt has lost $40 billion in tourist revenue since 2011 because of Islamic terrorist violence and that resonates with most of the 90 million Egyptians.

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January 27, 2015   Posted in: Egypt  Comments Closed

Egypt Court Orders Retrial of Mubarak in Corruption Case

Egypt’s top appeals court on Tuesday ordered the retrial of deposed President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons in a corruption case, a move that could pave the way for the former autocrat’s release during the new proceedings. The Appeals Court’s verdict overturned an earlier verdict, which sentenced Mubarak to three years imprisonment and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, to four years each while four other defendants in the case were acquitted. Mubarak’s lawyers appealed that ruling. It’s the only case keeping Mubarak behind bars. The former president has been cleared in the case over the killings of protesters during Egypt’s 2011 uprising that toppled him, after a judge ruled that the charges were “inadmissible” on a technicality. But the same judge also described the uprising ? one of the firsts that swept the region in what later became known as the Arab Spring ? as part of an all alleged “American-Hebrew conspiracy” to undermine Arab countries for Israel’s benefit. That ruling was a blow to the pro-democracy groups and youth groups that spearheaded the “revolution” against Mubarak. Tuesday’s decision could pave the way for Mubarak’s release ? once a new court convenes in the retrial. The tribunal can order Mubarak freed pending trial. However, Mubarak’s chief lawyer Farid el-Deeb told state-run Al Ahram newspaper that he believes that the ex-president was a free man as soon as Tuesday’s decision was announced. His legal interpretation could not immediately be verified. The corruption case ? dubbed by Egyptian media as the “presidential palaces” affair ? is linked to charges that the three Mubaraks embezzled millions of dollars’ worth of state funds over a decade toward the end of Mubarak’s rule. The funds were meant for renovating and maintaining presidential palaces but were instead spent on upgrading the family’s private residences. Mubarak and his sons were also fined 21.1 million Egyptian pounds ($2.9 million) and ordered to reimburse 125 million Egyptian pounds ($17.6 million) to the state treasury.

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January 13, 2015   Posted in: Egypt  Comments Closed

Egypt bans festival to honour Rabbi

Egypt has banned an annual festival, which attracted hundreds of Jewish pilgrims, in honour of a Moroccan rabbi renowned for performing miracles. An Egyptian court has banned a festival honouring a Moroccan rabbi. (Reuters) After the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, Egypt began allowing organised and heavily secured trips to the tomb of Yaakov Abu Hatzira in the Nile Delta province of Beheira, south of Alexandria. The Culture Ministry declared the site an Egyptian cultural monument in 2001. The Administrative Court of Alexandria banned the visits and stripped the ministrys designation. It acted on a complaint filed by local residents who objected to the mingling of men and women and the consumption of alcohol at the festival, and claimed that strict security measures applied during the festival negatively affected their normal daily life. Abu Hatzira, born in northern Morocco in 1805, was a son of the chief Rabbi of Morocco. He fell ill during a visit to the sacred sites in Jerusalem and died in Egypt in 1879. His grave became a shrine built on a small plot of land in the largely rural Nile Delta province. He is revered by some Jews as a mystic renowned for his piety and for performing miracles. The annual festival has in the past drawn hundreds of religious pilgrims each year, mostly Jews from Israel, Morocco and France. Jewish community The tomb is a vestige of Egypts once-prosperous and thriving Jewish community, which dates back to the time before Moses. At the time of the founding of Israel in 1948, they numbered about 80000 people. But the multiple Arab-Israeli wars, and the resentment and expulsions that they engendered, have reduced Egypts Jewish community to a few dozen elderly people in Alexandria and Cairo, according to the Israeli embassy. The annual religious festival has been a long-term source of controversy in Egypt. A court cancelled the event in 2001, but it was later resumed. In 2009, the Egyptian government banned Jewish pilgrims from entering because it took place during the Israeli governments Cast Lead offensive in the Gaza Strip; officials said they could not guarantee the pilgrims safety at a time of intense public anger toward Israel. In 2010, Egyptian security authorities arrested 25 men suspected of forming a new Islamic militant group that planned to carry out attacks on targets inside Egypt including the tomb of Abu Hatzira. In 2012, the government called off the festival, citing political instability in the wake of the 2011 revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak from power. Mondays court ruling, if it stands, seeks to permanently ban the festival. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said his office is examining the decision of the local Egyptian court and, if necessary, will approach the Egyptian authorities about the issue and stress the importance of freedom of worship.

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December 30, 2014   Posted in: Egypt  Comments Closed


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