No wonder they call it the Holy Land


(Holy Cow!),  … if this is what tourism is all about … then, Egypt, with its pyramids, obelisks, temples and the sphinx, is in deep trouble.

THE PYRAMIDS


“And then I looked farther, beyond the pallid line of the sands, and I saw a Pyramid of gold, the wonder Khufu had built.”

                                                                                From “The Spell of Egypt” – 1911

Robert Hichens

 

Why do you come to Egypt? Do you come to gain a dream, or to regain lost dreams of old; to gild your life with the drowsy gold of romance, to lose a creeping sorrow, to forget that too many of your hours are sullen, grey, bereft? What do you wish of Egypt?

The Sphinx will not ask you, will not care. The Pyramids, lifting their unnumbered stones to the clear and wonderful skies, have held, still hold, their secrets; but they do not seek for yours.

The terrific temples, the hot, mysterious tombs, odorous of the dead desires of men, crouching in and under the immeasurable sands, will muck you with their brooding silence, with their dim and sombre repose.

The brown children of the Nile, the toilers who sing their antique songs by the shadoof and the sakieh, the dragomans, the smiling goblin merchants, the Bedouins who lead your camel into the pale recesses of the dunes–these will not trouble themselves about your deep desires, your perhaps yearning hunger of the heart and the imagination.

Yet Egypt is not unresponsive.

kheper, the scarab God, the embodiment of the sun.

I came back to her with dread, after fourteen years of absence—years filled for me with the rumors of her changes. And on the very day of my arrival she calmly reassured me. She told me in her supremely magical way that all was well with her.

She taught me once more a lesson I had not quite forgotten, but that I was glad to learn again–the lesson that Egypt owes her most subtle, most inner beauty to Kheper, although she owes her marvels to men; that when he created the sun which shines upon her, he gave her the lustre of her life, and that those who come to her must be sun-worshippers if they would truly and intimately understand the treasure or romance that lies heaped within her bosom.

Thoth, says the old legend, travelled in the Boat of the Sun. If you would love Egypt rightly, you, too, must be a traveler in that bark.

You must not fear to steep yourself in the mystery of gold, in the mystery of heat, in the mystery of silence that seems softly showered out of the sun. The sacred white lotus must be your emblem, and Horus, the hawk-headed, merged in Ra, your special deity.

Scarcely had I set foot once more in Egypt before Thoth lifted me into the Boat of the sun and soothed my fears to sleep.

Continental Hotel, Cairo,1910's

I arrived in Cairo. I saw new and vast hotels; I saw crowded streets; brilliant shops; English officials driving importantly in victorias, surely to pay dreadful calls of ceremony; women in gigantic hats, with

Niagaras of veil, waving white gloves as they talked of–I guess—the latest Cairene scandal.

I perceived on the right hand and on the left waiters created in Switzerland, hall porters made in Germany, Levantine touts, determined Jews holding false antiquities in their lean fingers, an English Baptist minister, in a white helmet, drinking chocolate on a terrace, with a guide-book in one fist, a ticket to visit monuments in the other.

I heard Scottish soldiers playing, “I’ll be in Scotland before ye!” and something within me, a lurking hope, I suppose, seemed to founder and collapse–but only for a moment. It was after four in the afternoon. Soon day would be declining. And I seemed to remember that the decline of day in Egypt had moved me long ago–moved me as few, rare things have ever done.

Within half an hour I was alone, far up the long road–Ismail’s road–that leads from the suburbs of Cairo to the Pyramids. And then Egypt took me like a child by the hand and reassured me.

It was the first week of November, high Nile had not subsided, and all the land here, between the river and the sand where the Sphinx keeps watch, was hidden beneath the vast and tranquil waters of what seemed a tideless sea–a sea fringed with dense masses of date-palms, girdled in the far distance by palm-trees that kept the white and the brown houses in their feathery embrace.

Above these isolated houses pigeons circled. In the distance the lateen sails of boats glided, sometimes behind the palms, coming into view, vanishing and mysteriously reappearing among their narrow trunks. Here and there a living thing moved slowly, wading homeward through this sea: a camel from the sands of Ghizeh, a buffalo, two donkeys, followed by boys who held with brown hands their dark blue skirts near their faces, a Bedouin leaning forward upon the neck of his quickly stepping horse.

Sky slowly sets, silheutting the palms and the pyramids.

At one moment I seemed to look upon the lagoons of Venice, a watery vision full of a glassy calm. Then the palm-trees in the water, and growing to its edge, the pale sands that, far as the eyes could see, from Ghizeh to Sakkara and beyond, fringed it toward the west, made me think of the Pacific, of palmy islands, of a paradise where men grow drowsy in well-being, and dream away the years.

And then I looked farther, beyond the pallid line of the sands, and I saw a Pyramid of gold, the wonder Khufu had built. As a golden wonder it saluted me after all my years of absence. Later I was to see it grey as grey sands, sulphur color in the afternoon from very near at hand, black as a monument draped in funereal velvet for a mourning under the stars at night, white as a monstrous marble tomb soon after dawn from the sand-dunes between it and Sakkara. But as a golden thing it greeted me, as a golden miracle I shall remember it.

Slowly the sun went down. The second Pyramid seemed also made of gold. Drowsily splendid it and its greater brother looked set on the golden sands beneath the golden sky. And now the gold came traveling down from the desert to the water, turning it surely to a wine like the wine of gold that flowed down Midas’s throat; then, as the magic grew, to a Pactolus, and at last to a great surface that resembled golden ice, hard, glittering, unbroken by any ruffling wave.

The islands rising from this golden ice were jet black, the houses black, the palms and their shadows that fell upon the marvel black. Black were the birds that flew low from roof to roof, black the wading camels, black the meeting leaves of the tall lebbek-trees that formed a tunnel from where I stood to Mena House.

 And presently a huge black Pyramid lay supine on the gold, and near it a shadowy brother seemed more humble than it, but scarcely less mysterious. The gold deepened, glowed more fiercely. In the sky above the Pyramids hung tiny cloud wreaths of rose red, delicate and airy as the gossamers of Tunis.

As I turned, far off in Cairo I saw the first lights glittering across the fields of doura, silvery white, like diamonds. But the silver did not call me. My imagination was held captive by the gold. I was summoned by the gold, and I went on, under the black lebbek-trees, on Ismail’s road, toward it. And I dwelt in it many days.

The wonders of Egypt man has made seem to increase in stature before the spirits’ eyes as man learns to know them better, to tower up ever higher till the imagination is almost stricken by their looming greatness.

Robert Smythe Hichens

Climb the great Pyramid, spend a day with Abdou on its summit, come down, penetrate into its recesses, stand in the king’s chamber, listen to the silence there, feel it with your hands–is it not tangible in this hot fastness of incorruptible death?–creep, like the surreptitious midget you feel yourself to be, up those long and steep inclines of polished stone, watching the gloomy darkness of the narrow walls, the far-off pinpoint of light borne by the Bedouin who guides you, hear the twitter of the bats that have their dwelling in this monstrous gloom that man has made to shelter the thing whose ambition could never be embalmed, though that, of all qualities, should have been given here, in the land it dowered, a life perpetual.

Now you know the Great Pyramid. You know that you can climb it, that you can enter it. You have seen it from all sides, under all aspects. It is familiar to you.

No, it can never be that. With its more wonderful comrade, the Sphinx, it has the power peculiar, so it seems to me, to certain of the rock and stone monuments of Egypt, of holding itself ever aloof, almost like the soul of man which can retreat at will, like the Bedouin retreating from you into the blackness of the Pyramid, far up, or far down, where the pursuing stranger, unaided, cannot follow.

Egyptians Break Down Wall Around the Israeli Embassy


“A security wall erected around the Israeli embassy, a strong reminder of the West Bank barrier, was totally unacceptable in Cairo.”

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

The construction of the cement security wall around the Isareli embassy in Cairo

Last week, in the wake of  public anger over the killing of five Egyptian police officers and soldiers at the borders with Israel who were reported caught up in the crossfire while the Israeli forces were hunting down a group of infiltrators who carried out the Eilat ambush, Cairo witnessed yet another week of popular rage.

The ensuing Egyptian anger targeted the Israeli embassy as thousands of protesters rallied around the embassy for almost a week calling for the expulsion of the ambassador and the whole diplomatic mission.

The Egyptian interim government convened on the night of the border killings and actually released a statement via email to the press stating that the Egyptian ambassador in Tel Aviv has been officially instructed to return to Cairo until further notice.

The complete cement wall erected around the premises of the Isareli embassy in Cairo

A few hours later, during which lengthy deliberations between the military council and Esaam Sharaf, the Egyptian prime minister, seemed to have taken place,  and a statement by the spokesman of the prime minister’s office was issued saying that the earlier email should be disregarded since it was mistakenly sent.

This cover up story was hard to digest by the angry Egyptian public opinion and it proved that the prime minister has been out-muscled by Egyptian military generals.

What made things worse and added up to the anger of the Egyptian street is the sudden decision of the care-taker military council to build a cement wall/ barrier around the premises of the Israeli embassy to protect the embassy from any future anti-Israeli rallies.

The West Bank wall

The erected wall, of 3 meters high; kind of reminded the Egyptians of the Israeli barrier in the west bank, a situation that was totally unacceptable inside the Egyptian capitol.

Friday, September 9 started with a pro-reform rally in Tahrir square but a group of protestors branched off to head towards the embassy, tearing down part of the security wall around the building.

It seems like a group of protesters managed to enter the embassy’s premises, located only on the top floor of a high building in central Cairo as thousands of pages of documents were tossed into the rallying crowd from the Cairo building that houses the Israel’s embassy. And for the second time in less than two weeks the Israeli flag has been taken down and replaced with the Egyptian flag.

The Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan.

The Egyptian revolutions, like the rest of the Arab spring revolts, is still dominated by the power of the people with no apparent strong leadership lurking in the distance.

Turkey is the only country that has yet managed to gain the respect of most of the Arab peoples, especially after the strong response it showed toward the Israeli arrogance and piracy the whole world witnessed last year when the Israeli commandos attacked the Mavi Marmara ship, part of the Gaza aide flotilla, killing 9 unarmed activists most of them Turkish.

The Turkish diplomacy and its endeavors to win the favor of the angry Arabs who are experiencing one of the most turbulent phases in their modern history is not so hard to notice.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Obviously these conspicuous anti-israeli sentiments in the Arab world will continue to rise adding more to not only the political isolation of Israel in the Middle East, a situation that has recently been worsened by the Turkish-Israeli stand-off, but more seriously to the popular resentment of the Jewish country and its aggressive policies in the region and nothing, in my opinion, seems able to mitigate this anti-Israeli sentiments in the Arab world now, not even the latest statements by Mr. Obama sympathizing with Bibi in his dilemma facing the most fluctuating and unpredictable outcomes of the Arab awakening.

The Israeli prime minister denounced the attack on the embassy as a “serious incident” and a “blatant violation of international norms.” And that in itself was a very interesting statement issued by a bully state whose political core doctrine is primarily based on doing away completely with all of the international norms.

Egyptian boy knocks down a concrete wall built in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo September 9 2011. The message on the wall reads, Egypt is over all and Down Israel.

The Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, is due to arrive in Cairo on Monday to sign a military pact with Egypt, after cutting trade ties with Israel and expelling the Israeli ambassador in Istanbul.

At the end of his visit to Cairo Mr. Erdogan is scheduled to make his first official visit to Gaza via the Egyptian border crossing point of Rafah. But the odds of the Turkish Prime Minister to stick to the schedule of his visit amidst the current Egyptian-Isareli rising tension seems unlikely.

With Yitzhak Levanon, the Israeli ambassador who has just arrived from his holiday in Israel but still in the Cairo airport waiting for the situation to calm down or otherwise the instructions to go back to Tel Aviv what are the chances of him bumping into Mr. Erdogan arriving in Cairo airport as he is still waiting for his departure flight.

Well the chances are zero, for the Israeli ambassador, his family, security and staff have boarded the first Israeli flight heading back to Tel Aviv as I was winding up this update from Cairo in the first hours of Saturday morning of September, 10, 2011.

 

The reason why Egyptians hate Israel


“Peace with Egypt, which is considered an asset, only when it is at risk, was a peace that Israel toyed with and breached from the beginning.”

 

By Gideon Levy, Haaretz

Israeli embassy in Cairo

The Israeli flag that was taken down by a young Egyptian from the window of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo was faded and worn, flying from an old, nondescript office tower, invisible from the street to the naked eye.

 A great deal of murky water has flowed through the Nile since the flag was first unfurled; people who think that the hatred for Israel that is now boiling over is a divine edict, fate or the wrath of nature, should think back to the early days of peace between Israel and Egypt.

Then, in the carefree 1980s, tens of thousands of Israelis streamed to Egypt and were welcomed with open joy. It was a pleasure to be an Israeli in Cairo in those days; sometimes even a great honor.

The masses demonstrating against Israel now are the same masses who once welcomed the Israelis. Even if Friday’s “million-man rally” against Israel only became a thousand-man march, the hatred has sparked. But it does not have to be this way.

The fact that it has not always been this way should be food for thought in Israel.

But as usual, the question of why does not come up for discussion here. Why is there terror? Because. Why is there hatred? Because. It is much easier to think that Egypt hates us and that’s that, and divest ourselves of responsibility.

Peace with Egypt, which is considered an asset only when it is at risk, was a peace that Israel toyed with and breached from the beginning.

It required recognizing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and granting it autonomy within five years. Israel conducted ridiculous negotiations, headed by its interior minister (Yosef Burg ) with the intention of making the negotiations go away, and never met its obligations. The invasion of Lebanon the day after the treaty was completed in 1982 was dangerous and impertinent. Against all odds, Egypt withstood this baiting.

People who ask why Egyptians hate us should think back to these two pivotal actions by Israel.

 Public memory may be short-lived, but hatred is not. Its flames have been fanned since then.

People who want to understand why the Egyptians hate us should recall the scenes of Operations Cast Lead and Defensive Shield, the bombing of Beirut and the shelling of Rafah. If Israelis were exposed to scenes in which some country acted in the same way toward Jews, such hatred would burn within us toward that country as well. The Arab masses saw terrible pictures and its hatred increased.

New game ahead with brand new rules

 

Thousands of Egyptians rallied in front of Israel emabassy in Cairo calling for the expulsion of the ambassador

That hatred had fateful significance with the arrival of the Arab Spring. The rules of the game in the new Middle East changed. Peace and cease-fire agreements to which the tyrants in the old Egypt, Syria and Jordan held with much gnashing of teeth, could no longer be preserved in democratic or partially democratic regimes.

From now on, the people are speaking; they will not stand for violent or colonialist behavior toward Arabs, and their leaders will have to take this into consideration. The occupation, and Israel’s exaggerated shows of force in response to terror attacks are now being put to the test of the peoples, not just their rulers.

There is a positive side to this in that it may rein Israel in, as has already recently been seen with regard to Gaza: If not for the new Egypt, perhaps we would already be in the throes of Operation Cast Lead 2. But in the long-term, this will not be enough to hold back our forces and hold our fire.

It is becoming exhausting to reiterate this, but it is now truer than ever: Israel no longer has the option of living only by the sword.

The dangers inherent in the new reality that is emerging before our very eyes are not of the type that military prowess alone can overcome for years. We cannot gird ourselves forever, no matter how protected and armed we are.

The Arab Spring has placed the Arab-Israeli conflict on new grounds

The new Arab leaderships will not be able to ignore the desires of their peoples, and their peoples will not accept Israel as a violent occupier in the region. Not only does an Operation Cast Lead become almost impossible, the continued occupation endangers Israel – the longer it lasts, the stronger the resistance to Israel’s very existence.

It is not difficult to imagine how things could be different. It’s enough to recall the first days of peace with Egypt, or the early days of Oslo – until the Arabs recognized the fraud.

It is not difficult to imagine peace agreements that would lead to the end of the occupation and a response to the Arab peace initiative.

The only way is to create a new Israel in the eyes of the new Arab world. Only if this happens can we return to Cairo’s Khan el-Khalili market and be accepted there.

Let us not waste words over the alternative; it does not exist for Israel.

While in Cairo: Norman Finkelstein Joined a March on Israeli Embassy


 

“Norman Finkelstein joined some Egyptian youth activists in their most daring and adventurous attempt to breach the heavy security cordon around the Israeli embassy in Cairo, break into the embassy and take down the Israeli flag”

“Some argue that Egypt has other priorities at the moment than to get into trouble with the restless Zionists in Tel Aviv, only Dr. Finkelstein didn’t think so”

 

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

 

Poster of Dr. Finkelstein's lecture at the American University in Cairo

If you’ve been trying lately to contact Dr. Norman Finkelstein via email only you kept getting this reply “I will be out of town until 20 May 2011. I will not have access to internet so I will not be able to check my email”  .. Then you must have wondered where Dr. Finkelstein was and what could that seemingly urgent matter, that kept him from checking his email, be?

Well, to spare you the time and a wrong guess, Dr. Finkelstein was not on some Caribbean island vacation, he was in Egypt joining some youth activists in their most daring and adventurous attempt to breach the heavy security cordon around the Israeli embassy in Cairo, break into the embassy and take down the Israeli flag.

Nevertheless and before he left Egypt he somehow managed to keep his prefixed schedule and gave a memorable lecture at the American university in Cairo – AUC.

63 years of Nakba

 

Every year and on May 15, the Palestinians and the whole Arabs mark the Nakba day - the day Israel was established and declared a state by a controversial UN decree back in 1948.

Nakba is the Arabic for catastrophe. And indeed it has been, at least for the Palestinians who were expelled in a mass exodus as 750000 Palestinians were forced to flee their home land and make way for the new Jewish settlers.

This year marks the 63rd anniversary of this catastrophic event which proved after all these years of land grab that it’s not just some kind of brutal occupation or apartheid regime but an imminent danger to world peace altogether if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained unresolved

Palestinian protesters on the Lebanese side of the border near Maroun al-Ras take cover from Israeli gunfire on Nakba Day

The 63rd anniversary of Nakba day comes amidst extraordinary events the Arab world is currently witnessing as the wind of change and revolutionary tide is sweeping across the Arab world.

Emboldened by the powerful Arab uprisings Palestinians living in Diaspora in scattered refugee camps along the borders with Israel in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestinians from the west bank and Gaza decided to rally in hundreds and head for the land where their ancestors once lived. They all decided to march to Palestine on the 63rd Nakba day.

In commemorating the day they simply crossed the barbed wires and the fortified Israeli check points jeopardizing their lives for the sake of a few moments where they could walk through the fields and actually touch the trees their fathers planted ages ago.

For the Palestinians it was a day of remembrance, mourning their uprooting, embracing the past and keeping the hope to return home alive in the heart of new generations.
For the Israelis it was also a day to remember, not as their day of independence but rather as the day Israel’s borders were practically breached on 4 fronts; the Syrian, Lebanese, Jordan and Palestinian.

One cannot go far as some Zionist analysts who, in their bid for more American and European funds to Israel’s security, came out and said that on Nakba day Israel had been invaded on all fronts. But I would certainly point out that this has been more like a psychological blow to the Zionist myth of living secure and isolated behind some high wall or impregnable iron dome.

The 760 km concrete barrier has given the Israelis the false perception that their world stopped where the high fence stood and that nobody existed on the other side.

The Israelis have been deluded by this wall myth and on the Nakba day they found out how vulnerable they are.

 

While segregation walls are being demolished all over the world, Israel stands on the wrong side of history and embrace this dying wall culture.

It has been years since Israel witnessed this kind of pan-Arabic public display of rejection to the Zionist scheme for the transfer or rather the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Protest like an Egyptian

 

Dr. Finkelstein joining the anti-Israeli rallies outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo on May 15

In Egypt the Nakba day scenario has been completely different as thousands of pro-Palestinian activists planned to commemorate the day by marching toward Rafah, the border crossing point with Gaza, where they would express their solidarity to the Palestinians and denounce the continuing occupation of their land.

Also in the commemoration program came the invitation by al-Quds studenty club for Dr. Norman Finkelstein, the political scientist and the world acclaimed pro-Palestinian activist to give a lecture at AUC.

Since they were banned from reaching the border terminal of Rafah for security reasons, the activists made a tactical change in their plan and headed for the Israeli embassy in Cairo instead. They rallied there on Sunday as they called for the embassy to be closed and the Israeli flag to be taken down.

The protests started peacefully in front of the embassy in the morning but at 11 pm things began to turn violent as the protesters managed to breach the heavy security cordon around the embassy and actually reached the main entrance of the multi-story building at the top of which the Israeli embassy lies.

At that point, and minutes before the protesters were to get inside the embassy building, military and security reinforcements were called upon and on arrival to the protests site they began to warn the protesters not to proceed any further.

Failing to heed the warning, the military began to disperse the rally by shooting tear gas canisters and rubber bullets that hit one protester in the head and another one in the abdomen.

Egyptian protesters in front of the embassy calling for Israeli flag to be taken down.

Dr. finkelstein joined the rally and actually took part at the beginning of the protests which lasted for hours into the night leaving 353 wounded and 168 arrested and waiting to be interrogated by a military prosecutor.

A military spokesman declared that the violent crackdown on protesters came after they had violated the peaceful terms for rallying as they actually set out to break into the embassy and commit an international violation by trespassing the premises of the embassy of a foreign sovereign country and forcibly taking down its flag.

As a matter of fact, a great sector of the Egyptian people, especially those who have witnessed the long history of Egyptian military confrontation with Israel in 1956, 1967 and 1973 are not at ease with these enthusiastic anti-Israeli embassy protests for they know too well that Israel tends to get foolishly aggressive whenever she gets nervous, and they think Egypt has other priorities at the moment than to get into trouble with the restless Zionists in Tel Aviv. But Dr. Finkelstein didn’t think so.

And when asked, on an Egyptian TV show the following evening, if now was the right time for post-Mubarak fragile Egypt to provoke Israel by closing down its embassy or taking down its flag, Dr.Finkelstein responded

“the Israeli embassy is the real provocation, and I think the Israeli flag should be taken down and the embassy should be closed as long as the Palestinian issue remains unresolved” …

and he added “the Egyptians will not lose their lives if Egypt lowered down the flag. It’s the Palestinians who are losing lives; around 15 were killed yesterday as they marked the Nakba day”

 

In his lecture that focused on the effects of the January 25 Revolution on the Arab-Israeli conflict Finkelstein said ..

“Egypt’s first civilian government is unlikely to attack Israel or renounce its 1979 peace treaty with the country. Instead, Israel is sweating simply because Egypt has become a force to reckon with rather than a pawn to be played. The biggest threat to Israel, he said, is that Egyptians will enter the modern world, continue to reclaim their dignity, and demand a central role in the region”

 

Dr. Norman Finkelstein during his lecture in Cairo

Finkelstein managed to win his AUC audience over, exactly as he did with most of the viewers of his TV interview. And he wrapped up his talk on TV by calling for the Egyptian military not to do Israel’s dirty work, and to release all 168 arrested protesters whom he viewed as true heroes who couldn’t stay silent over the Israeli crimes in Palestine and the whole Middle East.

In the few days Finkelstein stayed in Cairo, which lacked any mainstream media coverage, he did not only walk like an Egyptian but he talked and protested like one.

Though it was the first lecture for Dr. Finkelstein in Egypt but the chemistry between him and the Egyptian audience has been remarkable.

Finkelstein is a man who never does anything against his conscience and who dares to go to the end of his thought and that is the kind of voices people want to hear not only in Egypt but the whole world.

Third Intifada Launched in Tahrir Square While US Peace Envoy Quits


“May be the Arab-Israeli conflict doesn’t need any more US special envoy, may be president Obama shouldn’t bother appointing a replacement, for, as far as the Palestinians are concerned, they had enough of this backstage Zionist-manipulated politics disguised as peace envoys”

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat 

Cairo's iconic Tahrir square packed with thousands rallying in solidarity with Palestine.

Cairo's iconic Tahrir square packed with thousands rallying in solidarity with Palestine.

It is hard to believe that those are the same people who were on the verge of being torn apart by the deadly sectarian violence just a few days ago.  It is hard to imagine those are the same people who are yet struggling out of a revolution that weighed down heavily on their economy and security.

How could they, in just few days, grow out of their grief and overcome the dreadful shadow of civil war. How could they easily wipe the tears, put out the fire that meant to engulf the whole country and instead put on a smile, hold hands and head for Tahrir square once again. How could the people of Egypt, while preoccupied and deeply engaged in sorting out the post-Mubarak mess, find the time, or better yet the drive to show solidarity to their Palestinian brethren?

We can only understand this through a historical perspective. Only a people who go back thousands of years and who have been exposed to all sorts of experiences and historical episodes could come up with this remarkable construct of resilience.

Calls for third intifada from Cairo and Tel Aviv 

Knesset member, Hanin Zoabi.

With the dawn break of Friday, May 13th, the prefixed date for Egyptian masses to support the Palestinian cause, thousands rallied in Tahrir square calling for national unity between Muslims and Christians and at the same time showing their everlasting solidarity for the Palestinians and their legitimate struggle to liberate their homeland from the Israeli occupation.

According to a facebook page created by Arab and Palestinian activists, these Friday rallies at the Cairo’s iconic square are meant to, not only revive the popular support for the Palestinian cause but to officially launch Egyptian mass rallies toward Gaza, in a move that would encourage Palestinians in return to take to the streets and start their third intifada.

This call for a third intifada comes at a critical time the wind of change is storming the whole Arab world. And since Israel has been deliberately inserted inside the heart of that world, it will be hard for the politicians in Tel Aviv not to feel the mighty daft.

As a matter of fact the call for a third intifada has been resonating inside Israel itself and specifically from the Israeli Knesset as Hanin Zoabi, a member of the Knesset representing the Balad party called for a third intifada against Israel.
Zoabi, the first Arab woman to be a Knesset member, recommended the Palestinian intifada would be fashioned after the Egyptian Tahrir square peaceful protests which she added should be the model for all the Arab youth.

George Mitchell

And in response to Zoabi’s call, other knesset members said she should be stripped of her parliamentary immunity and put on trial for calling for rebellion.

But while charges of inciting rebellion could be filed against Hanin zoabi for her support for a nonviolent third intifada aimed at ending the brutal siege on Gaza, defiant statements by Avigdor Leiberman, Israel’s foreign minister, declaring that Israel will not entertain any new building freezes and will not consider more peace negotiations with the new Palestinian coalition pass uncommented upon.

But again, the timing of this call for a third intifada comes on the same day George Mitchell, the Obama administration’s special Middle East peace envoy, plans to resign after more than two unsuccessful years of trying to press Israel and the Palestinians into negotiations.

We have to admit that political endeavors to see an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have utterly failed and may be that what Mitchell’s resignation is trying to say.

The only thing that the American-brokered so called peace talks did is buy more time for Israel to grab more Arabic land and create a hard to change or negotiate reality on the ground.

But more wasted time is a luxury Palestinians cannot afford.

May be the Arab-Israeli conflict doesn’t need any more US special envoy, may be president Obama shouldn’t bother appointing a replacement, for, as far as the Palestinians are concerned, they had enough of this backstage Zionist-manipulated politics disguised as peace envoys.

And may be what the whole Middle East conflict needs right now is a new kind of politics, the politics of the street, the kind that is driven by the power of the people.
In fact, it could very well be the third intifada, that we need.

THIRD PALESTINIAN INTIFADA: All Arabs to March on Israel on May 15th


“With those powerful political storms rolling up the Middle East, and with this unstoppable and unpredictable domino effect of popular uprisings, how long before we watch the Israeli domino piece fall down”

“And if dictatorships are not tolerated in the Arab world anymore, why the Israeli quasi-dictatorship over the Palestinians should be any exception”

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

All of The popular uprisings that swept through the Arab world have been preplanned and officially launched on facebook pages weeks in advance.

Pro-Israel lobbying. An Israeli Cabinet minister, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and a massive American-Zionist campaign have succeeded in pressuring Facebook into removing the“third Intifada” page, which clearly calls for an all-Arab uprising against Israel.
According to the facebook “cause” page, the plan for the intifada would go as follows;

Friday, May 13th
 In Egypt, the epicenter of the Arab world, the biggest Arab country and from Tahrir square at the heart of Cairo where the whole Arab spring has sprung and gained fervent momentum, this massive Arab intifada will be launched.
Millions will gather once again in Tahrir square at the heart of Cairo but this time to call for all Arab-march toward Israel.

This mass protest will come two days prior to the actual march, as a clear message to Israel and the rest of the world that liberating Palestine is the core cause for every Arab in the Middle East. And that restoring Jerusalem is all Arab’s sacred mission
 

Sunday, May 15th
 To commemorate the Palestinian exodus day 1948 ( Nakba) when well over 750000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled out of their home land by Israel, similar number of Thousands angry Arab protesters from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon along with their Palestinian brothers from Gaza and the occupied west bank will advance toward Israel in what they call, the third intifada

 

Profile photo of third intifada facebook page

In their march they will be denouncing the ongoing Zionist occupation of the Arabic land of Palestine and calling for internationally recognized independent Palestinian state over its legitimate pre-1967 borders with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Those fair Palestinian demands have been begged for by all ways known to diplomacy over the last 60 years. But since diplomacy has utterly failed the Arabs of Palestine and since politicians have granted them nothing except despair and Diaspora, they thought it was time they put their life into their own hands.

And what could be more timely than this Arab spring, which a lot of Arabs could not see or rather imagine approaching its full bloom without Palestine included.

This revolutionary plan that has been publicly posted on a facebook “cause” page and given the daring title “the third Palestinian Intifada” as there has been two Palestinian Intifada- uprisings- before. The first was sparked in 1987 and the second or what is known as the Aq’sa intifada in 2000, during both uprisings, Israel had to live through years of domestic unrest and worldwide condemnation of its apartheid and oppressive policy toward the Palestinians.

But as this “cause” page managed to attract almost 300000 fans and incredibly growing number of visitors in just few days Israel grew restlessly nervous about it. And nervously restless Israel acted in response.
What was worrying Tel Aviv is the fact that, so far, all Arab uprisings have been kicked off on facebook pages. So, under the boiling situation in the Arab world this facebook call couldn’t be underrated nor neglected.

Bullying facebook

With the unbelievably growing traffic to the facebook page and the spread of the call for a third intifada Israel couldn’t just stand watching underneath its big sign that reads “The only democracy in the Middle East”
Quickly switching signs, Israel grabbed the “Israel-hating and anti-Semitism” sign and put on its despotic mask, and before the administrators of the third intifada knew it, Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Minister of Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, on the last week of March wrote Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder and told him ..

“the social network site has great potential to rally the masses around good causes, and we are all thankful for that. However, such potential comes hand in hand with the ability to cause great harm, such as in the case of the wild incitement displayed on the Third Palestinian Intifada page”

 

Third Inifada

A facebook statement said on Monday of the first week of April that

whiles the “third Intifada” page “may be upsetting for someone, criticism of a certain culture, country, religion, lifestyle, or political ideology, for example — that alone is not a reason to remove the discussion.”

At that point it was clear to Israel that this Zuckerberg is not getting the message, Israel didn’t not seek his eloquent definition of the site’s terms for freedom of speech, removing the page that what Israel wanted. So Israel, with its Zionist lobbies and pro-Israel campaigns began to pull some strings and show some muscles and it did not take long before Mr. Mark Zuckerberg came to his senses and reevaluated the page as inciting violence against Israel.

And to make sure this will always be a lesson, learned the hard way, less than a week after facebook removed the intifada page; Zuckerberg was hit by a law suit seeking more than $ 1 billion in damages, for doing too little too late. The law suit has been filed by one of the American Zionist puppets- let off the leash- by the name of Larry Klayman.

After the page was no longer available on Tuesday, ADL director Abraham Foxman commented ..

“By taking this action, Facebook has now recognized an important standard to be applied when evaluating issues of non-compliance with its terms of service involving distinctions between incitement to violence and legitimate calls for collective expressions of opinion and action. We hope that they will continue to vigilantly monitor their pages for other groups that call for violence or terrorism against Jews and Israel.

 
Mark Zukerberg, facebook co-founder

Mark Zukerberg, facebook co-founder

But that will be mission impossible, for how could facebook go after thousands of Arab users who replaced their profile photos with the poster photo of the third intifada. Will facebook be able to pull down the other pages that began to play the same intifada tune?
Why can’t Israel face the truth, it is crystal clear, it needs no terrorizing of Zuckerberg or Goldstone. Arabs will never accept Israel as a neighbor state as long as Palestine is being systematically wiped off the map by the Zionist military dictatorship.

Israel could intimidate facebook but not the millions of awakening Arabs.
If facebook to block any page or any account that speaks unfavorably of Israel that will mean that Mr. Zuckerberg is going to sacrifice the hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims who are already using facebook worldwide.

Could facebook, contrary to its previous role in boosting the Arab uprisings, save the Israeli domino piece from falling?
That is yet to be seen.

 

 

EVOLVING STORY: Israeli Ambassador Leaves Cairo Amid Speculations of Opening Egypt’s Border with Gaza Soon


“Egypt doesn’t need investment from the enemy” says Egypt’s minister of finance.

“Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel should not be taken for granted” says Egypt’s foreign minister.

via EVOLVING STORY: Israeli Ambassador Leaves Cairo Amid Speculations of Opening Egypt’s Border with Gaza Soon.

Egyptians are Back in Tahrir Square to Block a Counter Revolution


“To every action there is always opposed an equal reactionAnd to every revolution there is often plotted a counter revolution…”

via Egyptians are Back in Tahrir Square to Block a Counter Revolution.

King Tut Mysteries Solved: Was Disabled, Malarial, and Inbred


King Tut Mysteries Solved: Was Disabled, Malarial, and Inbred

Ker Than

for National Geographic News

Published February 16, 2010

One of several, this golden "coffinette" (detail pictured) held part of King Tuts organs.

King Tut may be seen as the golden boy of ancient Egypt today, but during his reign, Tutankhamun wasn’t exactly a strapping sun god.

Instead, a new DNA study says, King Tut was a frail pharaoh, beset by malaria and a bone disorder—his health possibly compromised by his newly discovered incestuous origins. (King Tut Pictures: DNA Study Reveals Health Secrets.)

The report is the first DNA study ever conducted with ancient Egyptian royal mummies. It apparently solves several mysteries surrounding King Tut, including how he died and who his parents were.

“He was not a very strong pharaoh. He was not riding the chariots,” said study team member Carsten Pusch, a geneticist at Germany’s University of Tübingen. “Picture instead a frail, weak boy who had a bit of a club foot and who needed a cane to walk.”

Regarding the revelation that King Tut’s mother and father were brother and sister, Pusch said, “Inbreeding is not an advantage for biological or genetic fitness. Normally the health and immune system are reduced and malformations increase,” he said.

Short Reign, Lasting Impact of King Tut

Tutankhamun was a pharaoh during ancient Egypt’s New Kingdom era, about 3,300 years ago. He ascended to the throne at the age of 9 but ruled for only ten years before dying at 19 around 1324 B.C. (Pictures: “King Tut’s Face Displayed for First Time.”)

Despite his brief reign, King Tut is perhaps Egypt’s best known pharaoh because of the wealth of treasures—including a solid gold death mask—found during the surprise discovery of his intact tomb in 1922. (See pictures of King Tut tomb treasures or see them in person in  Toronto through April 30.)

The new study, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, marks the first time the Egyptian government has allowed genetic studies to be performed using royal mummies.

“This will open to us a new era,” said project leader Zahi Hawass, the Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. (National Geographic News is part of the National Geographic Society.)

“I’m very happy this is an Egyptian project, and I’m very proud of the work that we did.”

(See “King Tut: Unraveling the Mysteries of Tutankhamun”—a 2005 National Geographic magazine report on forensic studies that recreated Tut’s face, among other developments.)

King Tut’s Close-Knit Family

In the new study, the mummies of King Tut and ten other royals that researchers have long suspected were his close relatives were examined. Of these ten, the identities of only three had been known for certain.

Using DNA samples taken from the mummies’ bones, the scientists were able to create a five-generation family tree for the boy pharaoh.

The team looked for shared genetic sequences in the Y chromosome—a bundle of DNA passed only from father to son—to identify King Tut’s male ancestors. The researchers then determined parentage for the mummies by looking for signs that a mummy’s genes are a blend of a specific couple’s DNA.

In this way, the team was able to determine that a mummy known until now as KV55 is the “heretic king” Akhenaten—and that he was King Tut’s father. Akhenaten was best known for abolishing ancient Egypt’s pantheon in favor of worshipping only one god.

(Pictures: “Who Was King Tut’s Father?” [2007].)

Furthermore, the mummy known as KV35 was King Tut’s grandfather, the pharaoh Amenhotep III, whose reign was marked by unprecedented prosperity.

Preliminary DNA evidence also indicates that two stillborn fetuses entombed with King Tut when he died were daughters whom he likely fathered with his chief queen Ankhensenamun, whose mummy may also have finally been identified. (See “King Tut Tomb Fetuses May Reveal Pharaoh’s Mother.”)

Also, a mummy previously known as the Elder Lady is Queen Tiye, King Tut’s grandmother and wife of Amenhotep III.

King Tut’s mother is a mummy researchers had been calling the Younger Lady.

While the body of King Tut’s mother has finally been revealed, her identity remains a mystery. DNA studies show that she was the daughter of Amenhotep III and Tiye and thus was the full sister of her husband, Akhenaten.

Some Egyptologists have speculated that King Tut’s mother was Akhenaten’s chief wife, Queen Nefertiti—made famous by an iconic bust (Nefertiti-bust picture). But the new findings seem to challenge this idea, because historical records do not indicate that Nefertiti and Akhenaten were related.

(See “Nefertiti’s Real, Wrinkled Face Found in Famous Bust?”)

Instead, the sister with whom Akenhaten fathered King Tut may have been a minor wife or concubine, which would not have been unusual, said Willeke Wendrich, a UCLA Egyptologist who was not involved in the study.

“Egyptian pharaohs had multiple wives, and often multiple sons who would potentially compete for the throne after the death of their father,” Wendrich said.

Inbreeding would also not have been considered unusual among Egyptian royalty of the time.

King Tut Plagued by Malaria, Required Cane

The team’s examination of King Tut’s body also revealed previously unknown deformations in the king’s left foot, caused by the necrosis, or death, of bone tissue.

“Necrosis is always bad, because it means you have dying organic matter inside your body,” study team member Pusch told National Geographic News.

The affliction would have been painful and forced King Tut to walk with a cane—many of which were found in his tomb—but it would not have been life threatening.

Malaria, however, would have been a serious danger.

The scientists found DNA from the mosquito-borne parasite that causes malaria in the young pharaoh’s body—the oldest known genetic proof of the disease.

The team found more than one strain of malaria parasite, indicating that King Tut caught multiple malarial infections during his life. The strains belong to the parasite responsible for malaria tropica, the most virulent and deadly form of the disease.

The malaria would have weakened King Tut’s immune system and interfered with the healing of his foot. These factors, combined with the fracture in his left thighbone, which scientists had discovered in 2005, may have ultimately been what killed the young king, the authors write.

Until now the best guesses as to how King Tut died have included a hunting accident, a blood infection, a blow to the head, and poisoning.

UCLA’s Wendrich said the new finding “lays to rest the completely baseless theories about the murder of Tutankhamun.” (Related: “King Tut Not Murdered Violently, CT Scans Show” [2005].)

King Tut’s Father Not “Egyptian Quasimodo”

Another speculation apparently laid to rest by the new study is that Akhenaten had a genetic disorder that caused him to develop the feminine features seen in his statutes, including wide hips, a potbelly, and the female-like breasts associated with the condition gynecomastia. (See “Men With Breasts: Benign Condition Creates Emotional Scars.”)

When the team analyzed Akhenaten’s body using medical scanners, no evidence of such abnormalities were found. Hawass and his team concluded that the feminized features found in the statues of Akenhaten created during his reign were done for religious and political reasons.

In ancient Egypt, Akhenaten was a god, Hawass explained. “The poems said of him, ‘you are the man, and you are the woman,’ so artists put the picture of a man and a woman in his body.”

Egyptologist John Darnell of Yale University called the revelation that Akhenaten’s appearance was not due to genetic disorders “the most important result” of the new study.

In his book Tutankhamun’s Armies, Darnell proposes that Akhenaten’s androgynous appearance in art was an attempt to associate himself with Aten, the original creator god in Egyptian theology, who was neither male nor female.

“Akenhaten is odd in his appearance because he belongs to the time of creation, not because he was physically different,” said Darnell, who also did not participate in the DNA research.

“People will now need to consider Akenhaten as a thinker, and not just as an Egyptian Quasimodo.”

(Read more about Akhenaten in National Geographic magazine’s “Pharaohs of the Sun.”)

“Beautiful DNA” Found in King Tut Study

The generally good condition of the DNA from the royal mummies of King Tut’s family surprised many members of the team.

Indeed, its quality was better than DNA gathered from nonroyal Egyptian mummies several centuries younger, study co-author Pusch said.

The DNA of the Elder Lady, for example, “was the most beautiful DNA that I’ve ever seen from an ancient specimen,” Pusch said.

The team suspects that the embalming method the ancient Egyptians used to preserve the royal mummies inadvertently protected DNA as well as flesh. (Related: “King Tut Move Designed to Save Mummy.”)

“The ingredients used to embalm the royals was completely different in both quantity and quality compared to the normal population in ancient times,” Pusch explained.

Preserving DNA “was not the aim of the Egyptian priest of course, but the embalming method they used was lucky for us.”

Israeli Embassy in Cairo Under Siege


“ Just when the Palestinians in Gaza thought they were facing this new Israeli attacks alone and with their backs against the wall, they found out they forgot, over the years, that they had brothers in Egypt who are willing not only to accompany them in their struggle against Israel but to protect their backs as well”

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

Egyptians marching to the Israeli embassy in cairo, protesting over Israeli strikes of Gaza

On this very day, April 8th since 41 years the Israeli air force struck the village of Bahr el-Baqar – an Egyptian small village near Suez Canal. The raid resulted in the total destruction of an elementary school full of school children.  Five bombs and 2 air-to-ground missiles struck the single-floor school. Of the 130 school children who attended the school, 46 were killed, and over 50 wounded, many of them maimed for life. The school itself was completely demolished.

That tragic day marked the first encounter of the Egyptian people with the brutality and the indiscriminate aggression of the Israelis that targeted the innocent and unarmed civilians. This air raid demolished not only the school building but also the remains of any hopes for Israel to be seen as a friendly neighbor state.

From then on Israel was the absolute enemy in the eyes of every average Egyptian.

This terrorist attack on the innocent Egyptian school children has been deeply engraved in the memory of all Egyptians. And to make sure that no one forgot what Israel had done on that day, Egyptians made April 8th a mourning day for the killed school children of Bahr el-Bakar and to be commemorated every year for the last 41 years.
Only this year it was rather different.

Egypt-Israel relations in the last 40 years

Egypt has just emerged from its worldwide celebrated revolution which managed to topple the long lasting in power dictator, Hosni Mubarak.

So many things happened in Egypt since the Israeli raid on April 8th, 1970.

  • - Egypt retaliated against years of Israeli military aggression and political arrogance in the glorious October war 1973 against Israel.
  • - President Sadat signed – on an individual initiative- a peace treaty with Israel 1979 (based on Camp David accords) that never managed to naturalize relations between Egyptians and Israelis.
  • - Mubarak ruled  Egypt since 1980 and began a long era of not only observing the terms of the peace treaty but to acting as the closest friend of Israel and the White House in the Middle East.
  • - Mubarak, through his corrupt reign, helped Israel  tighten its shameful siege on Gaza and  even supplied Tel Aviv with the natural gas they needed for power and electricity production with prices well under the world rates. (enriching himself in the process)  But his most appreciated contribution to the Zionist regime in Israel was the complete Egyptian withdrawal from actively participating in the key issues of the Arab- Israeli conflict.

Gaza under fire again

Lately, the unrest began to resurface again at the border line between Gaza and Israel. On Friday April 8th Five Palestinians have been killed and around 45 wounded in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip following an offer of a ceasefire from Hamas after a surge in cross-border violence that was dramatically reduced by Israel and sold to the world as the usual “selective” Palestinian attack, by their most primitive handmade rockets, on a school bus – an area of specialty long mastered by the Israelis since Bahr el-Bakar school massacre.

Thus began another expected scenario of disproportionate Israeli attacks on the civilians and children in Gaza with the civilized world muted and turning a blind eye as usual.

The world has grown numb and painfully insensitive to the crimes of Israel against the Arab Palestinians in Gaza and the west bank.

And with judge Richard Goldstone bowing out and going back on his indictment of the Israeli crimes committed during the war on Gaza 2009; the world seems like a barren place for the Palestinians devoid of any free voices left to stand up against the Israeli insolence.

And just when the Palestinians in Gaza thought they were facing this new Israeli attacks alone and with their backs against the wall, they found out they forgot, over the years, that they had brothers in Egypt who are willing not only to accompany them in their struggle against Israel but to protect their backs as well.

Embassy under siege

On the very same day of April 8th and as Egyptians were protesting in Tahrir square demanding that Mubarak and his inner circle of aids to be put on trial and as the news of the Israeli attacks on Gaza made its way to the square at the heart of Cairo, thousands immediately took to the district where the Israeli embassy in Cairo is located.

Egyptians held back – by the military forces- from advancing into the building where the embassy lies practically surrounded the embassy in what seemed like a gigantic human shield. The angry protesters held flags of both Egypt and Palestine and raised big posters of al Aqsa mosque- temple mount in Jerusalem.

On a live coverage by Aljazeera of the march to the Israeli embassy- that somehow failed to make it to the news headlines- some of the protesters expressed their anger at the recent unjust Israeli attacks on Gaza and they made it clear they expected nothing less than the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador out of Egypt and taking the Israeli flag off the embassy building.

Some of the protesters went far as to demand the immediate end to the siege imposed on Gaza from the Egyptian side and a freeze of the Egyptian supply of natural gas to Israel.  But the most daring request came by many protesters who called for a public referendum to allow the Egyptian people to have their say about the peace treaty president Sadat had signed 30 years ago.

Amidst that overwhelming atmosphere of antagonism to Israel and its unacceptable and inhuman war of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians the Israeli embassy at the top floor of the building on the other side of the Nile opposite to Tahrir square found no other option than to dim out the lights and keep its staff hiding inside.

While the Egyptian crowd down in the streets were still swelling in great numbers around the embassy with the intensity of their enthusiasm rising high as they chanted for eternal solidarity with Palestinians the Israeli embassy’s lights were almost turned off with the Israeli flag kept as unapparent and way out of sight as possible.

On this April 8th night, and on the very same day that witnessed the massacre of Bahr el-Bakar the Israeli embassy with all the Israeli diplomatic mission in Cairo seemed under siege.

It must have been a terrible night for the Israeli diplomats in Cairo but at least they have experienced, even it was for few hours how it feels to be vulnerable, threatened and under relentless siege.

This public display of the Egyptian anger and dissatisfaction with the Israeli aggressive policy against the Palestinians may pass unreported by the main stream media but never unnoticed by the analysts of the Arab- Israeli conflict especially in the post-Mubarak era in Egypt, for what happened on that night of April 8th, 2011 might well depict the scene of the coming Egyptian-Israeli state of affairs.

On this day of commemoration, May the souls of innocent Egyptian and Palestinian children, massacred by the Israeli criminal forces, rest in peace.

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Muslim Brotherhood Breaking Free of Nasser’s Long Ban on the Group


Muslim Brotherhood Breaking Free of Nasser’s Long Ban on the Group.

Decades of political repression of dissent in Egypt has created an iceberg out of  the Muslim Brotherhood group -MB- with seven-eighths of its actual size under the surface.

ARAB UPRISINGS: Time to Quit Playing al Qaeda’s Card


ARAB UPRISINGS: Time to Quit Playing al Qaeda’s Card.

As Arabs are willing to start over with freedom and dignity there is no reason why the west cannot do the same and start dealing with Arabs in a more dignified way.

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat reporting from Egypt; One For All, And All For One


Millions of people cant be wrong.. Millions of people cant do wrong.. Millions of people cant go wrong when they are joined as one in front of forces of corruption and hypocrisy

via Dr. Ashraf Ezzat reporting from Egypt; One For All, And All For One.