It will be remembered that the 1967 Six-Day War broke out after Egypt closed the straits of Tiran and strangled the trade from Israel’s southern port city of Eliat.

Yet few are aware that Egypt has staked a claim to the city of Eilat, ever since it lost Eilat to the nascent state of Israel in the wake of the Egyptian army’s defeat in the 1948 war, followed by the expulsion of the Egyptians from this southern port city on the Red Sea.

Now, in the wake of recent reports about plans to dig a canal linking the Red Sea on the Israeli side and the Dead Sea on its Jordanian side, a fiery argument broke out in Egypts parliament, with the members of parliament (MPs) speaking out against the “Israeli plot to choke the Suez Canal to death.”

In the course of the debate, which has been going on in parliament for the last two days, Abed el-Aziz Sayef a-Nasser, an aide to the Egyptian foreign minister, was called as an expert witness. A-Nasser is the director of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s legal department.

“Eilat, or by its former name Umm Rashrash, belongs to the Palestinians,” he said, representing the opinion of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.

His predecessor, Dr. Nabil el-Arabi, was the head of the Foreign Ministry’s legal department and headed the delegation for negotiations at Taba. He also emphatically declared: “Eilat belongs to the Palestinians.”

A-Nasser’s response was meant to calm tempers in the rowdy debate in the Egyptian parliament, after dozens of opposition representatives demanded holding negotiations to have Eilat returned to Egyptian sovereignty. Opposition MPs recruited several legal experts, international law lecturers and experts on geography and topography who showed documents and opinions that Eilat is territory that belongs to Egypt and was captured in 1949 by Israel. They contend that the Egyptian negotiating team to Taba conceded Eilat to Israel 20 years ago “in the framework of the wish to build confidence and to display Egyptian good will in the spirit of the peace agreement.”

This was not the end of the matter. An Egyptian international law expert presented an intermediate position in parliament: “Eilat belongs formally to Egypt and administratively to the Palestinians.”

In the debate in parliament two days ago, an opposition MP, Mohammed el-Aadali, whipped out a document from 1906 which states, in the name of the Ottoman sultan: Umm Rashrash belongs to Egypt. In this spot – said the Egyptian experts on topography and geography – Egyptian pilgrims would stop and rest on their way to the holy cities in Saudi Arabia.

Another document brings testimony relating to 350 Egyptian police who were in Umm Rashrash just before it was captured in March 1949 and who were killed in battles with IDF soldiers.

Significantly, in the debate among the Egyptian MPs, the experts and the Foreign Ministry officials, no mention is made of possible legitimate Israeli sovereignty of Eilat. The debate in Cairo is between two camps: the Egyptian Foreign Ministry which claims that Eilat belongs to the Palestinians, and the opposition MPs who claim that Eilat belongs to Egypt.

The opposition Egyptian MPs threatened on Thursday to relay their demand for an Israeli withdrawal from Eilat to the Arab League to handle. Despite Israel’s 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, the Arab League’s 1948 declaration of war to liquidate the state of Israel remains in force. While Egypt was the kingpin of the Arab League from 1948 until 1977, the current dominant power in the Arab League is Saudi Arabia, which remains in a consistent state of war with the Jewish State until the present day. To that end, Saudi Arabia finances all Islamic terror groups that fight Israel, and continues to forbid any Jew from stepping on the soil of the Saudi kingdom.

┬ęThe Bulletin 2006

David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

NO COMMENTS

Leave a Reply