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.

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Al Jazeera International’s First Person:Egyptian POWs

This old video below goes back to 2007 in the 40th anniversary of the Six Days war and it shows  Ex-Sergeant Amin Ramadan who speaks about his experience in captivity at notorious Atlit along his friend and co-worker for 40 years Goma’a Hassan who is still suffering from physical injury hunting him down since the Atlit days. I talked about this video in 2007 as a report that was published in Al Jazeera international , I did not know that it was based upon a video that aired on the channel but it is never too late.

Ramadan and Gomaa

Ramadan who has become a kind of an activist for the 1967 POWs , is already suing the Israeli government among others for a just compensation on what they have seen and suffered on the hands of the IDF in 1967. His testimony is from the important living testimonies that prove the involvement of Ben-Eliezer in the mistreatment and abuse of our POWs against international laws.

Dr.Cherif Bassiouni,The Man Who Wants Justice To Our 1956 POWs

Dr. Cherif Bassiouni is a well known name in the war crimes investigations after all  he was the man who headed the Chairman, of the Security Council’s Commission to Investigate Violations of International Humanitarian Law in the Former Yugoslavia still it is unknown to most people that this man was behind the first Israeli confession of its kind : The murder of our POWs in the Suez war by the IDF.

Dr.Bassiouni
Dr.Bassiouni

In 1995 Maariv made an interview with Aryeh Biro , the former general and the so-called special force hero..etc in his house in Tel Aviv where he confessed that he killed Egyptian POWs in 1956 with no regret and this was just the surface for much deeper and darker war crimes as we all know

It turned out that Dr.Cherif had a very important role in this case , in fact the most important if I may say. The 1956 POWs case is a life case for Bassiouni who fought in the Suez War and when he knew about the POWs in 1967 he began to study our wars with Israel more and more. He chose the Suez war because he knew it well plus of course he lived it. For 20 years he began to search till he found out that the IDF had killed 41 military at the Metla path and 39 laborers 6 kilometers away from the path.

Dr.Cherif went to our minister of Foreign affairs then in 1995 Amr Moussa with huge file that could be the basis of a strong war crimes case , Moussa immediately took the file and Bassioui and met with President Mubarak who demanded an immediate action. Mubarak demanded late Rabin to investigate these claims ((as if Rabin would have done it)) but Rabin refused claiming that if Egypt officially opened its POWs rights, Israel would go and claim its POWs’ rights in 1973 ((nothing happened actually to their POWs in 1973 War)) and Clinton too had interfered in the matter causing it to be closed officially forever leaving for the citizens in front of the state’s courts as we all know.

This is Dr.Cherif’s testimony and I believe if we can contact the man again now , he will not refuse to help us as citizens to restore back our POWs rights even if we try and fail , trial is enough

Source : Al Masry Al Youm

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.