Al Watan Newspaper Remembers Egyptian POWs in #1967 War Defeat Anniversary

Al Watan Newspaper published last 5th of June 2013 a special report in Arabic about the Egyptian POWs in 1956 and in 1967.

Despite it is not the biggest special coverage considering the fact that we are currently in

? Egyptian POWs in tracks “Corbis”

political development marathon in Egypt yet it reminds the Egyptian and Arab readers with what happened to our POWs in both wars.

The special coverage included the testimony of 1967 veteran and former POW Ibrahim El Siyad. Ibrahim was a solider in Al Arish in the Supply and transportation branch during the six days war. After his capture near Al Arish city in his attempt to flee the city , he was transferred to Al Arish military airport where he witnessed the killing of Egyptian POWs in the airport.

“They {IDF soldiers} used to dig a pit in the sand then they ordered the Egyptian POW to sit at the pit and they shot him” MR. El Siyad stated what many had witnessed in Al Arish airport and how it turned to graveyard then.

El Siyad was transferred later to Atlit prison camp to spend there 5 months. 

During his transportation he survived death , when young IDF soldiers “originally Yemeni teenagers” opened their fire in the way on the POWs. Only 3 POWs from 50-60 POWs survived including El Siyad. El Siyad was injured in his hand.

Interestingly I remember reading a similar testimony on how the POWs transferred in  trucks were shot in their head. It seems that there was some order to reduce the number of POWs using all possible ways after all !!

According to the old POW there were 5000 Egyptian POWs in Atlit prison. He mentioned about the inhuman conditions the POWs suffered from during their detention. “We were 100 in each ward, they used to lock us up in the ward from 4 PM to 8 AM without water , we used to pee in a bucket” The old POW remembered his days in the POWs prison camp adding that he did not receive a medical care for his hand injury except one month.

Mr. El Siyad is suing the IDF in front of the State Council in Egypt.

The testimony was recorded in video by the way. I wish it is translated in English.

(more…)

No News No Bad News

Dostor newspaper whether daily or weekly has not published anything new information or follow up the Egyptian POWs file they opened in last May 2010.

At first I thought it had to do with the instabilities happening in the last couple of months at North of Sinai so I asked Wael Mamdouh and he told me that there was nothing new to add which is true to be realistic , the update should come from the public opinion.

Amidst all the problems and crises Egypt is suffering from now , it seems that the POWs case is lost but not for too long because if anything I learned from this case is that it refuses to be forgotten.

USS Liberty and Gaza Flotilla

Gaza flotilla incident reminded many people with the famous SS Exodus incident and it also reminded many others with the famous USS Liberty incident whose anniversary  is after 3 days

Despite the differences between USS liberty and Gaza flotilla yet both ships were attacked in international waters , Americans were killed by IDF on both of them and one of the flotilla passengers was from the original passengers of USS Liberty.

Joe Meadors was on the board of  Sfendoi Ship that was captured in the flotilla and he shared with the world his experience in his second encounter with the IDF.

Why is USS liberty interesting to our POWs Case ??

Well some crew members of the USS liberty believes that the IDF may have thought that the ship had intercepted communications between the Israelis speaking about a massacre for our POWs in Al Arish citadel to be specific.

Our POWs Killer To Return Back To Israel

The assault on the Gaza flotilla by the IDF is not something strange , this is the usual IDF which breaks international law without any accountability. Despite its barbaric nature , Israel is now paying the price , protests are everywhere in the world condemning its actions and  Ben Eliazer was forced to return back to Israel from Qatar due to what happened,

Already the prince of Qatar has declined to meet him today due to the attack on flotilla.

False Promises

In 1995 after the shameful confessions of IDF commanders of committing war crimes against our POWs in 1956 Suez War and what followed it affecting our mutual relations then , French Libération continued to cover the matter internationally revealing things we did not know about then back in Egypt for some reason. In August 1995 the French newspaper published a small newspaper based on an interview with an Israeli official , Elie Dayan who was the Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs with an unnamed Egyptian newspaper that Israel was ready to pay compensation to families of the 900 Egyptian prisoners massacred by Israeli soldiers during the wars of 1956 and 1967 and that those acts did not represent the Hebrew State…etc.

Here is the original article and its English translation.

I do not recall that interview but I believe the French newspaper could have quoted Al Ahram newspaper. It is very important statement for sure and I do not have to bet that in the original interview Dayan said the following : “Israel is ready to pay compensation for the 900 Egyptian prisoners if they were proven to be murdered by the IDF” because after few days we found in the same newspaper a small news saying that Shimon Perez , the new Prime minister then promised to open an investigation in to the matter in order to calm down the Egyptian angry public then despite the Israel’s Attorney General back then “Michael Ben-Yair” had ruled that there was no basis for prosecuting soldiers for wars crimes or offenses as he had described it in 1956 and 1967 war because of a 20 years limitation on homicide charges !! The attorney general did not considered the crimes against our POWs as war crimes !!

Here is the second article and its English translation

Search For the 1956 POWs Massacre in Israeli literature

Literature is known to be the mirror of the society and its share from its social and political defeats and triumphs especially when it is inspired by real events like wars.

In 1960 one of Israel’s finest authors and playwrights Aharon Megged wrote a novel called “The fortunes of a fool” which

Aharon Megged

was published in 1960 , the novel is about the Suez war and its reflection on the hero of the novel , the fool who suffers in his social life to the degree that he wishes to kill himself finding a final resort in a terrible war.

In the 310 pages novel there is a whole chapter dedicated to the military tribunal of that fool hero who refused to follow his commanders’ orders and kill the Egyptian POWs he was guarding where there is that interesting dialogue between the judge and the fool hero showing how the Israeli military establishment supported and approved ((still does)) the murder of unarmed Arab POWs.

There is no doubt that Megged did not imagine that tribunal and that support to POWs murder from nothing , there is no smoke without fire, already in 1956 Israeli military correspondent then Amir Oren wrote about the Metla massacre then in Israeli newspaper “Davar“. There is no doubt that Megged was inspired by Oren’s reports where he wrote that whole chapter in that novel to represent his hero as a fool in the eyes of a military establishment.

“The fortunes of a fool” was translated in to English in 1962 in the United States. I do not know if it has been translated

Fortunes of a fool

in to Arabic or not despite the fact that other Megged’s have been translated in the Arab world as an example to the contemporary Israeli literature. This novel shows the importance of reading and translating the Israeli literature which is another window to understand the Israeli and Zionist mindsets. I knew about this novel from a 2009 op-ed by Dr. Ibrahim El-Bahrawy ((professor of Hebrew in Ain Shams university)) who was among the first to introduce examples from Israeli literature to the Egyptian and Arabic readers since early 1970s.

The English translation is available in Amazon.com if you are interested in reading it.

Did Or Did Not Rabin Admitt it in 1995 ??

This is not the Egyptian Press , this is not the Arabic press , this is the French Press archives : A Libération article from 1995

Rabin reconnaît le massacre de soldats égyptiens par Israël

Rabin recognizes the massacre of Egyptian soldiers

According to that old article which was based upon quotes of  Israeli foreign minister and the current President now Shimon Perez to Radio Israel late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin admitted the Israeli responsibility for the IDF crimes in both Suez War and six days war in a meeting with President Mubarak in Washington D.C in 1995 during the Oslo 2 agreement.

Again this is a French newspaper not an Arabic newspaper.

I tried to search in international archives regarding this incident and I found out that the Israeli Press said the opposite as usual :

From Jerusalem Post :Rabin , Mubarak pledge not to let POW issue to ruin relations.

From that small excerpt you will see how the Israeli media fools the Israeli public claiming that “The Mubarak government has been under pressure from Islamic militants in Egypt” to readdress the issue !!?? What Islamic

Mubarak and Rabin in 1995
Mubarak and Rabin in 1995

militants !!?? It was in fact Dr. Cherif Bassiouny who spoke with president Mubarak about the matter and he is no way associated with any militant group !!?? It was clearly that the media there was using the Israeli public fear from militant groups and was claiming that they were pushing the Egyptian regime , the Mubarak regime to reopen the war crimes against the Egyptian POWs file as if Biro did not brag with his crimes !!

If you check the dates you will find it goes with what Dr.Bassiouny had revealed that Mubarak met with pressure from the States and Israel to close the file , may be Rabin admitted Israel’s responsibility in that meeting by off the record and wanted to be in that way in front of a comprise or may be he had admitted and let Clinton pressure Mubarak  to close the file and let it not to ruin the so-called neutralized relations.

Neutralized relations are not built over the war crimes which will surface again one day.

Again the first links are from a French newspaper quoting Radio Israel which for long time was considered from the reliable sources of information in the Middle East. Of course if we search now in Radio Israel archives we will not find any record for that news in 1995.

My only hope regarding this incident if it took place for real that someone in the Egyptian delegation would have the courage to say that it took place and Rabin admitted Israel’s responsibility for the murder of our POWs in 1956 and 1967

Thanks for Egyptian in France for the link

The Israeli Media Reacts

In a very quick reaction the Israeli media began to comment on the Dostor’s report accusing the IDF of committing war crimes against the Egyptian POWs during the six days war. The Israeli media of course denied all these accusations and you can find many comments in Israeli news sites like Ynet News claiming that there were no mass graves found in Egypt despite the important fact Dostor report showed mass graves in video too !!

I am not surprised from this reaction despite the fact that the Israeli media is misleading the Israeli people because actually several IDF generals and historians have admitted by the crimes committed against the Egyptian POWs whether in 1956 or 1967 themselves before we ever speak.

BY the way there is news that the Israeli government is thinking in suing El Dostor for disturbing the Egyptian-Israeli Relations !!! If this happens then Al Dostor and Wael Mmdouh managed to hit the nerves of the Israeli government. All what I fear now is the graves found by Wael Mmdouh to be removed by the Egyptian regime.

Wael Mmdouh : Wait For More

I did a quick online interview with Egyptian journalist Wael Mmdouh who re-opened again the Egyptian POWs file in the Egyptian media in a way like no other. I asked him several questions about his report and he was kindly enough to answer my questions.

Egyptian POWs.net:  what made you search for the mass graves of the Egyptian POWs in this way that one has ever done and that was the beginning of the interview??

Journalist Wael Mmdouh
Journalist Wael Mmdouh

At first I was not sure that I was going to find mass grave like I have done, I only wanted to prove that these mess graves do exist; through research and the cooperation of the locals I was able to be sure completely that there are mass graves and thus I started to take this lead with the help of some of the locals; I also looked for eye witnesses to tell me the circumstance of the POWs murder and its right time and date.

Egyptian POWs.net: Did you meet any difficulties while talking with the locals??

Of course I did meet several difficulties while talking with the locals in the area , especially it is a desert area that does not accept strangers easily which made even harder ; the people there do not accept to speak with strangers easily and they never trust them at all.

At the end I was able to find some locals who had strong relations with eyes witnesses and those took care to win the confidence of the people there and assuring that I only seek the truth and that no names would be mentioned if requested and that what happened.

Still despite all this we met difficulties, for instance after agreeing with one of the sources near the Halal mount to speak and after long time in the way to get him, we found him refusing to speak to us ; I had to thank him in the end despite I could not document his testimony nor did he guide us to that mass grave “which is the biggest” between the mass graves I found yet this did not stop me to search for the rest mass graves and find them in the end besides documenting the witnesses’ testimonies.

Egyptian POWs.net: Did the security or the official authorities stand against the research or there was not an interest or completely absence!!??

This did not happen because I took my precautions in order to finish my reportage without the knowledge of the authorities and this is better because I can’t be their reaction for reportage like this; the authorities did not know about my reportage except when it was published.

Egyptian POWs.net: What was your feeling when you hold the bones of our POWs in your hand??

Frankly I can’t describe my feeling then, it was so difficult that you can imagine and it is enough to say that I stop working and speaking after burying the bones that appeared in the video. I could not continue working; I did not say one single word except after leaving the middle zone.

Egyptian POWs.net: Why did not you show the complete video especially in the mass graves in Dostor Channel??

It was for technical reasons, as YouTube does not allow long news material or documentaries, still it was required to be a short news report to support the story with photos and videos. I recorded long interviews but it would take long time to upload and download which will be bad for the readers. Already there is an idea to produce a long documentary with the testimonies and footage for the mass graves.

Egyptian POWs.net: Are there more pictures for the mass graves??

Yes there are more photos that will be published later in Dostor newspaper and its official websites for the sites as a follow up.

Besides there is a file from audio testimonies and photos currently prepared to help the legal committee which is being formed by Ambassador Ibrahim Youssry currently in order to sue the Israeli war criminal in the coming days.

Egyptian POWs.net: Has there been any official reaction you knew about regarding this reportage??

Officially there has been no reaction as if this reportage were published in another country, as if these soldiers were not Egyptians but off the record I know from personal sources that there are Egyptian Israeli moves to absorb the situation and not to escalate it like the gas issue, well I hope they fail.

Egyptian POWs.net: Will there be new material added to the report??

Of course there will be more to be revealed in the coming days especially the reportage was met with huge successful as I got many phone calls from people who want to document their testimonies and the physical evidences they have concerning the occupation era, this besides the people of Rafah, Sheikh Zowaid and on the borders villages who wanted to talk about the mass graves they found and feared to talk about. I think this report will continue and I will discover through it the biggest number of Israeli crimes to be documented.

Egyptian POWs.net: Did you document any of the sites on maps like Google maps??

It has not been done yet but I have the coordination of the middle zone on paper maps in order to prepare more precise maps to include the new cemeteries in the coming days.