On the 40th anniversary of the October 1973 war “Yom Kippur war” You will find it rare that Egyptian or Israeli media would speak about what happened to Egyptian POWs during that war. The media’s focus especially in Egypt is about the Israeli POWs and the good treatment they received .
On the other side very few sources speak about what happened during that war from crimes and violations committed by the Israeli Defense army. Group 73 Historians, a group of army veterans who chronicle independently the history of the wars against Israel revealed a horrifying incident which they named “The Thunderbolt Forces Massacre”.
The incident is based upon the testimony of former major general Magdy Shehata’s memories.
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.
There is a new book that was published in Cairo from days ago about the Egyptian POWs , the name of the book “The crime of murdering the Egyptian POWs”
The book’s author is researcher Abdel Razek Said Soliman and its introduction is written by Dr. Ibrahim El-Bahrawy who mentions in his introduction the “Fortunes of a fool” novel . The book which is an actually a study depends on the Israeli literature and how it showed incidents of war crimes against out Egyptian POWs.
The book also show examples of the Israeli literature that covered the 6th of October war.
“Le guerre des six jours il ya 40 ans” or “40 years on the six days war” is an essay written by Chitour Chems in 2007 in the 40 anniversary of the war that changed the Middle East forever. The essay discusses the six days war and its implications up till now showing new historical revelations that the Israelis knew in advance that Nasser did not want to go unlike what they claimed and have been claiming up till now despite the confessions of the Israeli decision makers then.
Despite it is a heavy historical political essay still it contains very interesting details about the massacres against our POWs in 1967 which I will quote here the translation due to its importance.
Among the horrors that Israel was guilty, the film “Shaked Spirit” released by the Israeli state television was shock. It shows the massacres of Egyptian soldiers and officers, it opens the war crimes file committed by Israel despite the liquidation of 250 solider could be considered quite simple in comparison to those Egyptians and Palestinians, and even Israeli historians themselves’ testimonies that the number of prisoners were Killed in the capture was 10,000. Indeed, the number of prisoners would be killed in the capture of 10,000. In His book “The unit Shaked,” Professor Uri Milistein Gives details and counts of war crimes, Even Has A photo of Ben Eliezer with the caption: “Liquidation after the war.” In his book “The unit Shaked,” Professor Uri Milistein counts and gives details of war crimes, even has a photo of Ben Eliezer with the caption: “Liquidation after the war.”
Among the testimonies of this book include:“I saw a man digging a hole for about 15 minutes. Then, Israeli soldiers Asked Him to throw the shovel. Then one of them with an Uzi sub-machine gun killed him.” Israeli Historian Gabby Born, in Yediot Aharonot ” We were close enough to see the town mosque with the naked eye. On the morning of June 8, 1967, in Sinai, in the City of Arish, Israeli forces Have Systematically Executed more Than 1000 Egyptian POWs. The Israelis Asked prisoners to dig their own grave Before Then finish them off. “ James Ennes, Former American serviceman from the USS Liberty, the American spy ship Was bombed in 1967. Fouad Riyadh former judge at the international criminal Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia called for the formation of an Investigation committee to investigate the Israeli crimes Against Egyptian soldiers: These crimes are quite identical to those Committed in Bosnia.
These testimonies are not strange to us , in fact we mentioned some of them before in our website here , the question now is when these testimonies will be recognized , when these testimonies will be taken seriously whether locally or internationally
The Crimes of War project is a very promising respectable international project for documenting war crimes all over the world despite how this mission seems hard and difficult. The project issued a book about the war crimes in the world “Crimes of War 2.0” which is a guide to educate the people more about the war crimes using documented examples from around the globe and it is available in different languages among which an Arabic version from the book.
The project is an independent body that has no Arabic or Islamic relation what so ever , of course I have to say so just in case because there is an extensive section of course in this project and its book about the Arabic-Israeli conflict since 1948 war.
I found this part from the “Arab-Israeli Wars” Chapter related to the war crimes against our Egyptian POWs in 1956 and 1967 wars
In October–November 1956, the IDF overran the Gaza Strip, where it remained in control until March 1957. During the battle for this heavily populated zone and during the first weeks of occupation, the IDF killed some five hundred civilians, either in actual combat or in a subsequent series of massacres. Elsewhere during the Sinai-Suez War, IDF troops reportedly killed fleeing, and often unarmed, Egyptian troops by the hundreds and, occasionally, Egyptian prisoners of war. For example, at the end of October 1956, the IDF Paratroop Brigade killed some three dozen POWs near the Mitle Pass. Revelation of this affair in 1995 prompted Egyptian protests to Jerusalem and a demand for an investigation (whose results were never made public).
Again the researchers in the project are not Arabs nor antisemitic and you can see they are unbiased in the last part which I accuse the Arabs of murdering Israeli POWs , I do no know about the Syrian front but I will speak about the Egyptian side , the documents we have prove otherwise.
I can’t deny that the people in Delta killed the Israeli pilots who were downed but you must bear in mind the farmers in Delta were extremely angry because for years they have been targeted by the raids of the IAF through those 6 years.
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.
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
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.
“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
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.
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??
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.
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.
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
Does it suprise anyone in the world that the IDF would start an investigation concerning misconduct (( war crimes )) in the war of Gaza and not to reach to aÂ condemnation to the IDF officers and soldiers conduct ???
I am not surprised really because the Masada army never does anything wrong !!! All that WP used was not a misconduct in fact it should be used against the civilians taking shelter in UN buildings !!!!!
This is an expected result ,already this investigation was announced to enhance the ugly image of the IDF in the world after the Gaza war.