Friday, November 25, 2011

MIDDLE EAST WRAP: REVOLUTION REDUX IN EGYPT


Weekly round-up of the Hebrew newspapers in Israel; covering the major events happening in Israel and the Middle East. Haaretz-Maariv-Yedioth Ahronoth-Israel Hayom-The Jerusalem Post-Ynet 

Stories about the escalating turmoil in Egypt competed for space on the front pages of most of Israel’s newspapers on Thursday, Nov 24, 2011. Yedioth Ahronoth leads with the story about two shooting incidents on the Egyptian side of the border. At around 8:00 P.M. Wednesday, two Egyptian police officers were killed in a shootout with drug smugglers not far from the border with Israel and the Gaza Strip. And according to Yedioth, the Israeli army maintains that the deaths did not result from its gunfire.

Shortly after the first incident, IDF troops noticed a suspicious van pull up near the border, apparently seeking to pick up the drugs that were due to be supplied by the smugglers. Soldiers opened fire, but no bodies were found. Afterward, they recovered a handgun and a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

According to Yedioth, Israeli officials are concerned that despite the fact that Israeli soldiers were not responsible for the deaths of the two Egyptian policemen, the Egyptian media will blame Israel for the incident, shifting public opinion so that the ruling military council could be compelled to take drastic steps, like recalling the Egyptian ambassador from Tel Aviv.

The two most popular dailies, Yedioth and Israel Hayom, both dispatched reporters to cover the events unfolding in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Both correspondents observed how the square was filled with protesters predominantly Islamists, a worrying development from Israel’s standpoint. According to Eldad Beck of Yedioth, the demonstrators in the square are not just venting their anger at the head of the ruling military council, Mohammed Hussein Tantawi. But Israel is also the subject of their rage.

 Beck quotes one demonstrator shouting. “The military council is activating the Israeli weapon against us. They are shooting at us like the Israelis shoot at Palestinians in Gaza.”

 “’The youths of the revolution’” who belong to the ‘Facebook generation’ who took down the Mubarak regime are seeing before their very eyes how the democracy which they so desire is being ripped out of their hands,” Beck writes in Yedioth. “Since the profile of these demonstrators is different from fomenters of the ‘January 25 revolution’ – poorer, less educated, easier to incite, and devoid of deep political thought – anti-Israel rumors and slogans quickly spread.”

 Israel Hayom’s correspondent in Cairo, Boaz Bismuth, reports that Muslim Brotherhood followers are working in earnest to purge Egypt from all vestiges of the Mubarak era. “Cairo has become a very unhappy city recently,” he wrote. “While Libyans and Tunisians formed governments and at least gave off the impression of being optimistic; and while Yemenites received the welcome news that their indecisive president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was on his way out; Egyptians once again took to the square for the sake of democracy. This time, ‘democracy’ has grown a beard.”


Photo: Foreign Policy Magazine......The Second Republic of Tahrir

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