In this year’s six days war anniversary the Israeli Defense Army launched a twitter account “@IDF1967” in Hebrew to recount the events of the what happened in the war that changed the Middle East forever.
This account did not mention the documented war crimes committed by the IDF against the Egyptian POWs as well Egyptian citizens and Arab citizens in general during the war.
It neglected the fact that thousands of civilians in the Suez cities canal were killed in the air strikes of the IAF where the internationally banned Napalm bombs were used. Thousands of Egyptians were forced to be displaced.
Thousands of Egyptians were forced to be displaced.
Today is the anniversary of the 6th of October 1973 war , today we remember all our fallen soldiers and officers as well our POWs whether in 1967 or in 1973.
Today we also remember the treatment of Israeli POWs in Egypt and how it is quite different to what our Egyptian POWs faced in 1956 and 1967.
In this occasion , I would like to share with you a rare Egyptian documentary directed by late famous director Shady Abdel Salam in 1975 about the war and the Egyptian soldiers. The documentary in Arabic includes the testimonies of Egyptian soldiers including those who had been captured by Israeli forces.
Many Egyptians know that President Hosni Mubarak had a cameo in an old black and white Egyptian film in 1950s but most Egyptians ignore the fact that President Mubarak was captured as a POW in a war. Contrary to what you may think he was not captured as a POW in our wars 1956 and 1967 , President Mubarak was captured in the Sand war between Morocco and Algeria in 1963.
During that war Egypt was supporting Algeria against Morocco politically and militarily , it is not clear up till now the participation of Mubarak and whether he was transferring weapons or he was leading a squad of Egyptian and Algerian pilots , probably the later story is the correct one as it is supported by the Moroccans themselves. Lieutenant Hosni Mubarak and his group were captured in Moroccan Aïn Chouatèr area .
As soon as notorious general Mohamed Oufkir knew about the capture of Egyptian and Algerian pilots , he ordered their immediate transfer to Marrakech for interrogation otherwise he would cut off the head of his officers !! God only knows what those young men had seen on the hand of that man. In the same year King Hassan exchanged our POWs in president Nasser’s presence at the African summit in Bamako.
There is no clear reason why this has not been mentioned in our official media or in Mubarak’s official biography despite the facts the Moroccans do not hide it and we have good relations with them and President Sadat who preceded President Mubarak was in jail in twice for two grave charges and he did not hide at all. Some people claimed that this incident did not find its way to the Egyptian public because the regime loves to hide the Nasserite regime mistakes which is untrue because during the Sadat’s era we knew much more grave mistakes and sins the Nasser regime had committed against the Egyptian and Arabic public.
The capture period is very hard for any solider and God only knows what Mubarak and his follow Egyptian pilots had seen on the hands of General Oufkir till their return back to Cairo so it is natural that that experience had left its remarks on Mubarak and re-shaped even on a little scale part of his personality. President Mubarak as a human knows very well what it means to become a POW and and how it feels to fear on your life and your constant wonder on whether you will return home or not ; this is why it is shocking to know how the Mubarak regime is treating our 1956 and 1967 POWs file.
One may wonder how the Egyptians treated Israeli POWs , Maj. Gen. Hassan Al-Gandali, a former chief of operations of the Egyptian army, said there were a number of Israeli POWs in Egyptian camps in 1973. “We were very much concerned about their welfare, though we were aware of the way the Israelis had dealt with our POWs under their custody,” Hassan said.
“As I was the chief of operations, I accompanied Egyptian Defense Minister Musheer Ahmad Ismail to the camp in which Col. Esaf Yagouri and 150 prisoners were kept. On seeing us the prisoners looked so terrified as they seemed to think that we were going to send them to the firing squad in return for what Israel had done to the Egyptian POWs in the past. On the other hand, Musheer told them that he did not blame them for obeying the orders of their superiors though it was to occupy a territory belonging to another country. ‘However, you will be treated in line with the Geneva Conventions. So you have nothing to worry about,’ Musheer said.
“Then he asked the commander of the camp about the sick POWs and took special care of them. He also ordered the camp commander to take the POWs for sightseeing in Cairo, including a trip to the pyramids and a boat ride on the Nile. After a few moments of disbelief the prisoners broke into a deafening applause. This is how the Egyptians treat their prisoners of war.”
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 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
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
After few hours Dostor Weekly issue will hit the newsstand with a new scoop that probably will cause a lot of stir in the Egyptian-Israeli relations. Dostor will publish astonishing details about a new POW mass grave found in Sinai supported by video and photos.
According to OnTv’s “headline” show this mass grave is in the middle zone of Sinai. The middle zone of Sinai if I am not mistaken is at the Metla passages , already this is a strategic military zone in Sinai.
Wait for more coverage insh Allah .
I do not know yet the details and the background of this mass grave but I know that this area was badly damaged in the heavy rains that hit Sinai from couple of months ago so may be these heavy rains were not a curse but rather a bless as they revealed a hidden crime under the sand after all those decades.
Wait for more coverage insh Allah
Here is the episode of “Headline” show discussing the Egyptian POW mass graves found in Sinai with Egyptian journalist Wael Mamdouh of Dostor.Unlike what I though earlier these mass graves were not newly found , they have been known all the time by the locals in Sinai as they used to bury our men properly after the departure of the murderers. Wael Mamdouh documented everything including the remains of the POWs cloths found in the scene and kept by the locals besides their testimonies. Until this moment the locals there know the names of the officers who committed these crimes and are ready to testify against them.
A very interesting piece of information Mamdouh found in his research that the Israelis did not care that much to hide their crimes against our POWs in Sinai because they thought that Sinai would be theirs forever but after the 1973 war and also during the Camp David negotiations they began to fear that their crimes with their hard evidence would be exposed and thus they found a way to hide it, they planted landmines in the big cemeteries !!
From 40 years ago the IAF attacked a small village in Egypt called Bahar El-Baqar targeting a small 3 classrooms school , that school was named after the village : Bahar El-Baqar primary school.
The Israelis attacked the school claiming that they had mistaken it for a military facility , the result of their mistake as usual was 30 dead students not to mention the injured.
Bahar El-Baqr school massacre is just one bloody page in the Israeli army book of war crimes. 40 years have passed and strangely despite the official neglect the people still remember it , the name of “Bahar El-Baqar” has been immortalized in our Egyptian memory forever whether by a small dramatic scene in film starring Magda or Poem by Egypt’s Saleh Jahin that was sang by Shadia
Bahar El-Baqar raids according to international standards now are a war crime.
Remembering Bahar El-Baqar and paying respect to its victims won’t affect our relations with Israel on the contrary it will send a message to the whole world that Egypt never forgets her children
In 1973 Egyptian POWs were captured by the IDF , of course their numbers were too small comparing to those who were captured in 1967 not to mention all the spot lights were highlighted on the Israeli POWs captured by the Egyptian side.
As expected the Egyptian POWs in 1973 like their brothers in 1967 and 1956 did not receive the same treatment which the Israeli POWs received in Egypt.
It is enough that the Egyptian POWs of 1973 are accusing the IDF of injecting them by HCV and of using them in medical experiments in Atlit prison camp. Already this would not be the first time it happens, it happened before in 1967.
Most of the Egyptian POWs of 1973 have passed away by liver cancer and hepatitis diseases which they brought with them from their capture. The only remaining Egyptian POW from them is Abdel Rahman Mohamed Kadous ,who is currently suffering from liver cancer and also the neglect of the regime. kadous once tried to sue the Israeli government but the court for some reason refused the lawsuit.
We are currently celebrating the 1973 nowadays in Egypt and I believe we should not neglect the file of the Egyptian POWs in 1973 especially on the other side we treated the Israeli POWs as it should.
POW No.36715 is Mohamed Hussein Yunis who was captured by the IDF during the six days war 1967 and he has published a new edition from his memories about this tough experience. The book is called “Steps on jailed land” and it was published by “Dar Al-Shorouk” in Cairo in 2008 after its first print in 1982. The memories are like a novel , conversations between a POW who just had returned back home and his psychiatrist
Yunis describes the feelings of humiliation the Egyptian soldiers and officers whether in the six days war itself or their capture in Atlit prison. He describes in details both the physical and psychological warfare the Israeli army practiced against the Egyptian POWs.
According to critics the book is a documentary written by the feelings of a poet and the spirit of artist , an artist with No.36715.