Emily on Egypt, Hamas and the Olympics

August 9, 2012 by Emily Gian
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On Sunday evening, a group of terrorists stormed an Egyptian military post, killing 16 Egyptian soldiers and capturing their armoured personnel carrier…writes Emily Gian.

Emily Gian

They then proceeded to the border with Israel. A second vehicle, carrying explosives, explored at the Kerem Shalom crossing on the Israel-Egypt border. The other vehicle entered into Israel where it was targeted by the Israel Air Force. It is believed that these terrorists were planning on carrying out a major terrorist attack inside Israel (see more). For a more in-depth description of the attack as well as a video of the IAF’s strike on the vehicle, click here.
There were obvious ramifications of this attack in Egypt, with the newly-elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi releasing a statement saying that “this cowardly attack will not go without a response… and that those who committed this crime will pay for it dearly” (see more). It is now believed that Egyptian intelligence had information about this attack before it was carried out but according to Egypt’s intelligence chief “we never imagined that a Muslim would kill a Muslim on the hour of breaking the fast in Ramadan” (see more).

The attack also raises major questions on the scope of the Egyptian government’s control over Sinai, which is said to have weakened since the demise of former President Mubarak. It is believed that ‘between 1,500 and 2,000 terrorists are currently based in the Sinai Peninsula. The terrorists belong to various radical organisations, including Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and groups which are based in Gaza’ (see more).

Israeli and Egyptian officials believe that the terrorists came from Islamic Jihad in Gaza and global jihad terrorists in Egypt. Egyptian officials demanded Hamas assist the effort to apprehend the terrorists declaring “if we will be forced to strike Gaza, as Israel has, we will do it – if it is proven that those who committed the attack came from Gaza” (see more). Naturally Hamas denied any sort of involvement in the attack stating “Hamas has nothing to do with the border tensions… on the contrary, Hamas cares about Egypt’s national security and would never use weapons against the Egyptian army”. Instead, Hamas supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s assertion that the attack on Egyptian forces “can be attributed to Mossad” (see more). They were in good terrorist company with Hezbollah also declaring this could only be the work of Mossad. Perhaps Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor put it best when he stated, “even the person who says this when he looks himself in the mirror does not believe the nonsense he is uttering”. The fact that the Rafah border crossing, which is the only crossing between Gaza and Egypt, has been closed indefinitely, seems to suggest that the Egyptians do not really believe Mossad was behind the attack.

As usual, rivals Hamas and Fatah are using this incident to take swipes at each other. Fatah officials declared that the attack was a “natural extension to what is going on in the Gaza Strip”, while agreeing with the assertion that the terrorists came from the Gaza Strip and Sinai. Hamas shot back that the allegations were “irresponsible and immoral” and would incite the Egyptians against Hamas (see more).

Meanwhile, while Hamas denies Israel’s very existence and will take any opportunity to speak out against the Jewish State, I came across a very interesting story which serves as an interesting footnote to Hamas’ deep hatred of Israel. It turns out that only four months ago the brother-in-law of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was treated in a hospital in Petah Tikvah when he suffered serious cardiac arrest and could not be treated in Gaza. He and his wife, Haniyeh’s sister, filed an urgent entry request into Israel and the two remained in the Israeli hospital for a week before returning to Gaza (see more).

I suppose there is a moral somewhere in this story and it goes something a little like Hamas’ genocidal Covenant which states “Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it”… but not before we take advantage of your medical expertise. There are idiots around the world who campaign for BDS in the most aggressive way and they should take note of this perverse scenario playing itself out in the region.

The other little event that is still making the news is the Olympic Games, which is now entering Day 12. As we reported before the Games started, the IOC was refusing to honour the 11 Israeli athletes murdered at Munich with a minute silence at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics. While the 11 athletes were not remembered at the Opening Ceremony, there was a minute silence and a six minute tribute to the 52 victims of the 07/07 bombings in London. You would recall that IOC President Jacques Rogge had previously stated that in terms of memorialising the 11 Israeli athletes, “the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident”. It seems Rogge does not have an issue with honouring victims of terror as long as they are not Israelis or Jews.

Please see this video, shown at Melbourne’s Minute for Munich, and please click here to read about the Italian Olympic team’s tribute to the 11 Israeli athletes.
A few nights ago, another memorial event, which was attended by around 600 people, was organised by the National Olympic Committee of Israel, the Jewish Committee for the London Games and the Israeli Embassy in London. Rogge, who competed in the 1972 Munich Games, said that the Munich attack “cast terrorism’s dark shadow on the Olympic Games. It was a direct assault on the core values of the Olympic movement” (see more). While the audience apparently clapped politely for Rogge, it was two of the widows of Israel’s 1972 Olympic team that received a standing ovation for their words.

Ankie Spitzer, whose husband was fencing coach Andre Spitzer z”l declared “Shame on you, IOC… You have forsaken the 11 members of your Olympic family. You discriminate against them only because they are Israelis and Jews” (see more and video).

Addressing Rogge, Ilana Romano, whose husband was weightlifter Yossef Romano z”l proclaimed “You will be written down on the pages of history as … a president who violated the Olympic charter calls for brotherhood, friendship and peace”.

Addressing the crowd, Minister for Culture and Sports Limor Livnat stated “There is a line to be drawn from Auschwitz to Munich, and from Munich to Burgas, where Israelis tourists were murdered by terrorists just three weeks ago. It is the murder of Jews simply because they are Jews. Jewish athletes, Jewish tourists, and just plain Jews” (see more).

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who was also in attendance declared the Munich attacks as “a sickening act of terrorism that betrayed everything the Olympic movement stands for and everything that we in Britain believe it. As the world comes together in London to celebrate the Games and the values it represents, it is right that we should stop and remember the 11 Israeli athletes who so tragically lost their lives when those values came under attack in Munich 40 years ago”.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle declared “40 years ago, deadly terror struck the Olympic Games in my country. The images of Munich 1972 are burned into the German collective memory. The victims of the heinous attack in Munich deserve a dignified memory. Our words and our silence belong to them. I assure you that Germany has not forgotten. Germany looks back in mourning. We can’t bring the dead back to life, but it is our duty to honour their memory”.

One can only hope that as Jacques Rogge sat there in the audience, some of these messages got through to him and he felt the shame that will forever be associated with his decision to shun the murdered athletes.

Still on the Olympics, in our last update we also mentioned the BBC’s treatment of Israel on their official pages for each country participating in the Olympics. Many were outraged that the BBC had been so political when it came to entering in a capital city for Israel. They have now taken it one step further with the size of the country. It now says “Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics cites (including Jerusalem and Golan) 22,073km². Just as a point of reference on how the “size” issue is tackled on other pages, Palestine’s page simply has a number with no need to clarify what that range includes. The fact that the BBC constantly needs to politicise something as simple as the “Key Facts” of Israel once again exposes their incredible anti-Israel bias.

Apart from a few minor incidents, such as the Lebanon Judo players not wanting to train next to the Israelis (the IOC even erected an “apartheid” barrier between the two countries at Lebanon’s behest), it has been a rather quiet Olympics for the Israeli team. Please click here to read of Israel’s successes in the Olympics, such as World Champion Lee Korsiz placing 9th in her RX-S final, and Yakov Toumarkin placing 7th in the backstroke final. Australia placed 8th in the same final!

Perhaps the moment that excited me the most when it came to the Israeli team this Olympics was when tennis players Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich defeated Beijing gold medallists Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka to make it to the quarterfinals. They were subsequently beaten by the Americans, but it must be an amazing feeling to be able to say you knocked superstar Roger Federer out of a tournament!

So we haven’t heard the Hatikvah played this Olympics, but there is always Rio 2016!

As an advocate for Israel, I have always admired the dedicated work of Hillel Neuer, who is the Executive Director of UN Watch, and have referenced his work on these very pages countless amounts of time. Hillel will be speaking in a Public Forum in Melbourne on Thursday 23 August at 8pm at Beth Weizmann Community Centre. His topic is “Can Israel ever receive a fair go at the UN?” Considering Hillel works tirelessly to ensure that the UN fulfils its own mandate, he is most definitely the person to answer that question! I hope to see you all there (click here for flyer).

 

Emily Gian is the Israel Advocacy Analyst at the Zionist Council of Victoria and a PhD Candidate in Israeli Literature at the University of Melbourne

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