Tuesday, January 10, 2006


From Egyptian blogger Seneferu (via Sandmonkey):
A headline in page 6, "Arab Affairs" section of Friday's edition of Al Ahram reads: "Official Source: The Egyptian Forces Practiced Self Restraint And Did Not Fire One Bullet"
"An official source explained that about 3,000 Palestinians gathered on the other side after a large number of them infiltrated in an illegal way from the 5m wide, 3m high breach they created. When the Egyptian forces confronted them, they fired ammunition on them while the Egyptian security forces practiced self restraint, following orders from the Egyptian authorities not to fire one bullet in the direction of the Palestinian brothers, but also to offer all facilitations to ease their crossing from the main border point in a legal way. The official pointed that the Egyptian authorities made great efforts until a late hour of the night to contain the situation and to not escalate it with the Palestinian brothers, and to stop the crossing of thousands of them from the breach to the Egyptian territories....and he said that the Egyptian security apparatus was careful not to injure one Palestinian and resorted to tear gas to disperse the Palestinian gathering on the border. And he said that 17 injured soldiers were treated and left the hospital, 7 others are still under treatment, and four of them were transfered to El Arish hospital for the severity of their cases."
I kid you not. This is not some fictional parody of black comedy. This is our government and this is our press. All what's left is for them is to issue an official apology to the Palestinian brothers for standing in the way of their fraternal bullets.
Unbelievable. If this is true, the Egyptian authorities consider putting their armed forces at risk an acceptable price to preserve the image of pan-Arab brotherhood. I guess their PR department decided that pictures of Egyptian soldiers shooting Palestinians wouldn't much help the latter's cause or Egypt's standing within the Arab world.

It gets better. Seneferu continues:

Abu Mazen declares in the front page of Al Ahram that the two fallen soldiers will be considered martyrs among the martyrs of the Palestinian people. Lucky Arafa and Sayed.
Quite how this works I'm not sure - presumably anyone who refuses to fire on a rampaging Palestinian mob despite being shot at gains martyr status? I wonder if the same logic applies to the victims of Palestinian terrorism? The old argument goes: "Ah, but they're not civilians," but neither were these Egyptian soldiers.

And the "Ah2, but they were only doing their job" rebuttal also holds very little weight as one might easily make the same argument about conscripts to the IDF.

Frankly, if I were related to the murdered or injured soldiers I might be looking for a bit more from Abu Mazen than the "Don't worry, your son's a martyr" line.

Perhaps to make up for the ridiculous orders that were given to the soldiers, the Egyptian government's coughed up some compensation: $15 to the injured and $150 to the families of the slain. Even taking into account the cheaper standard of living, this doesn't seem like an awful lot of money.


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