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Despite Hostile Public, Egypt Won’t Destroy Israel Relations

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Photo: Russian Presidential Press and Information Office.

JNS.orgEgyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is confronting a complex array of challenges along the country’s northeastern border with Gaza.

With approximately 1.4 million Palestinians amassed in Rafah on the Gaza-Egypt border, el-Sisi is engaged in negotiations for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas and simultaneously attempting to keep diplomatic ties with Israel intact.

However, amid these diplomatic efforts, he faces domestic issues compounded by strong anti-Israel sentiment among the Egyptian public, who perceive him as being too closely aligned with the United States and Israel.

Speculation has arisen regarding the potential dissolution of Egypt’s 45-year peace treaty with Israel in the event of an Israel Defense Forces incursion into Rafah. Israel asserts that the city serves as a stronghold for the last four Hamas battalions, which must be eliminated in order to win the war.

However, according to Jacob Olidort, director of research at the Washington-based Jewish Institute for National Security of America, it is “unlikely” Egypt would end its peace treaty with Israel if the IDF enters Rafah.

“Although this appeared to be a real concern following el-Sisi’s remarks several weeks ago, the [Egyptian] foreign minister’s statements in recent days made it clear that Egypt’s cancellation of its peace treaty with Israel is highly unlikely,” he told JNS.

Speaking at a press conference in Slovenia on Feb. 12, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said, “There is a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, which has been in effect for the past 40 years and will continue to be,” according to Asharq Al-Awsat.

Egypt would adhere to the 1979 peace treaty as long as it remains reciprocal, he said, adding, “Therefore, I will rule out any comments that have been made on this matter.”

Olidort emphasized that canceling the treaty “would mean ending the deep cooperation between the Egyptian and Israeli militaries in fighting Islamic State in the Sinai, as well as U.S. military assistance.”

Eran Lerman, vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, believes el-Sisi has greater worries and “will not compound his country’s woes unless he absolutely has to.”

In Lerman’s view, el-Sisi would not take the extraordinary step of cutting ties with Israel unless Israel expelled the Palestinians to Sinai or some other action, military or otherwise, that would lead to a massive breach of the fences.

According to Lerman, this is something Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “committed to avoid.”

Haisam Hassanein, an adjunct fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JNS he doesn’t believe Israel and Egypt would get into a conflict or cancel the peace treaty because of Hamas.

However, he said, Egypt “worries about a spillover to its territory, which could liquidate the Palestinian issue or open the door for Hamas and jihadi operatives to infiltrate its border by posing as refugees.”

“Previous bloody clashes between Palestinian militias in their host nations, such as Lebanon and Jordan, don’t inspire confidence in Cairo,” he added. Moreover, “If they attack Israel from Sinai, it could strain Egypt-Israel relations,” he noted.

This concern over a spillover has reportedly prompted Egypt to begin building a containment area for Palestinian refugees in Northern Sinai on the Gaza border as a precaution.

In addition to Israel’s war against Hamas, Egypt is currently dealing with a multitude of other issues. As Lerman recently wrote, “the Egyptian pound is in free fall; investors and business leaders are leaving; essentials are in short supply; tourism is in decline; and now, attacks on Red Sea shipping have led to a plunge in Suez Canal income, and the failure of talks with Ethiopia on the filling of the Renaissance Dam has cast a shadow on Egypt’s vital water supply.”

In addition, a civil war is raging in neighboring Sudan and Libya remains unstable.

All this places Egypt in a precarious position, and the need to demonstrate it is siding with the Palestinians seemingly clashes with its need to cooperate with Israel.

Olidort noted however that Egyptian public opinion is important, as are the “optics of how the government appears in relation to Israel and its operation in Gaza.”

He said Egypt’s position with regard to the Palestinians in Gaza “has less to do with shouldering the economic burden of caring for them or the security burden of fighting Hamas—there is, rest assured, no love lost between the Sisi government and Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood—and a great deal to do with the public opinion pressure to not appear to side with either Israel or, militarily, with the United States.”

Egypt’s domestic challenges, and particularly its mounting economic woes, are very real, said Olidort. “But there is a clear recognition that compromising its regional reputation could make matters worse,” he added.

According to Olidort, the concerns of a spillover from Gaza as the IDF turns its focus on Rafah “are just as much about optics as about security; just as threatening, in the Egyptian view, as a porous border is the political blowback caused by a public narrative that Egypt is helping Israel push Palestinians from their land.”

At the same time, according to Lerman, Israel is “eager to preserve a highly valuable strategic relationship, even if the Egyptian public domain is still quite poisonous.”

As Israel moves forward with plans to invade Rafah and root out the Hamas terrorists there, including the group’s leader Yahya Sinwar, much of the international community and media have condemned Israel’s plans.

For instance, the South African government has gone as far as submitting an “urgent request” to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to consider whether Israel’s planned offensive in Rafah constitutes a “further imminent breach of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza.”

In a statement released on Friday, the ICJ declined to take additional measures.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron called on Israel to restrain itself in Rafah. “Many of the people in Rafah have already moved three, four or five times. It is not possible for them to move again,” he said on Tuesday. “That is why it is so important that the Israelis stop and think before going ahead with any operations in Rafah.”

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pushing back against these warnings, telling ABC News in an interview on Sunday: “Those who say that under no circumstances should we enter Rafah are basically saying lose the war.”

“Victory is within reach. We’re going to do it. We’re going to get the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions in Rafah, which is the last bastion, but we’re going to do it,” Netanyahu said.

Israel’s position has been that only military pressure will secure the hostages’ release.

The daring commando operation in Rafah earlier this week that saw the rescue of Israeli hostages Fernando Simon Marman and Norberto Louis Har from Rafah only strengthens this position.

Luckily for Israel, Hamas’s affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, el-Sisi’s sworn enemies, means he needs to support Israel in its fight to defeat Hamas.

“At the end of the day, Egypt has as much an interest in the defeat of rabid Islamism as we do,” said Lerman.

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Assault charge laid, arrest made related to incident near the University of Toronto encampment—while its president speaks in Ottawa on antisemitism, and the school seeks a removal injunction

Toronto Police have arrested and charged a man for assault over an incident May 9 near the protest encampment at the University of Toronto’s King’s College Circle on its downtown campus.  Toronto Police Services (TPS) say they responded at 3:45 p.m. that day to a call for assault in the area of the road around […]

The post Assault charge laid, arrest made related to incident near the University of Toronto encampment—while its president speaks in Ottawa on antisemitism, and the school seeks a removal injunction appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘Any Chance the Media Would Cover This?’ New Video Shows Terrorists in Gaza Using Humanitarian Aid to Help Prepare Rockets

Terrorists in Gaza using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets. Photo: Screenshot

Terrorists in Gaza have been using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets they were preparing to shoot at Israelis, new video circulating on social media reveals, underscoring the challenges of delivering aid to Palestinian civilians in the Hamas-ruled enclave without it being stolen.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — which is the armed wing of Fatah, the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbasused bags from Turkey and UNRWA — the UN agency responsible for the Palestinians — to prop up the rockets, according to the video.

At least three of the bags say they contain “wheat flour,” and the bag from Turkey specifically says it is supposed to go “to the Palestinian people.” It is unclear whether the bags had previously been opened to extract the food and then refilled with sand, for example, or if it still contained the food that was intended to feed Palestinian civilians.

“Any chance the media would cover this, yet another violation of international humanitarian law?” pro-Israel commentator Hen Mazzig wrote on X/Twitter while sharing the video.

Rafah, Gaza: Hamas is using UN humanitarian aid bags as rocket launchers today.

Any chance the media would cover this, yet another, violation of International Humanitarian Law?

— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) May 29, 2024

Almost every day for the past seven months, Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations have been shooting rockets into Israel from civilian areas, which is a war crime. Tens of thousands of Israelis are internally displaced and unable to return to their homes as a result.

There is mounting evidence that Hamas has also operated in civilian clothing and in civilian infrastructure such as hospitals. However, these violations of international law are rarely noted by much of the media.

The latest video of terrorists using humanitarian aid for military purposes underscores the issue of making sure such aid gets to Palestinian civilians. 

The US built a pier to deliver 2,000,000 meals daily to Palestinian civilians, but after a few weeks of operation, the Pentagon said none of the aid unloaded from the pier had made it to those who needed it. On one occasion, about 70 percent of the aid has been stolen while en route to a UN warehouse. In other cases, it just never showed up.

Israeli estimates suggest approximately 60 percent of the aid that has gone into Gaza has been stolen — either by Hamas or other groups and individuals. Oftentimes, that aid is then sold to the population at high prices, making it difficult to impossible for most Gazans to gain access to it. 

According to Ehud Yaari, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Hamas has made more than $500 million in profit from selling humanitarian aid since Oct. 7.

The terror group began the war last October by massacring 1,200 people in Israel and taking more than 250 people hostage, about half of whom have still not been released.

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Columbia University Anti-Zionist Group Endorses Hamas

Demonstrators take part in an anti-Israel demonstration at the Columbia University campus, in New York City, US, Feb. 2, 2024. REUTERS/David Dee Delgado

Columbia University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has endorsed Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, the latest sign of its growing extremism and willingness to embrace antisemitic violence.

“The Palestinian resistance is the only force materially fighting back against isr*el [sic],” the group said in a series of posts shared by Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus, a social media account which exposes antisemitism on college campuses. “There is no way to eliminate the resistance without ending the occupation. When you see a video of a young palestinian [sic] boy traumatized in a hospital talking about how iof [the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF] shot his pregnant mother in cold blood in front of his own eyes, do not question how he chooses to resist years later.”

.@Columbia and @BarnardCollege, @ColumbiaSJP is actively promoting terrorism and anti-Israel rhetoric on their social media channels. They are sounding more and more like Hamas spokespeople every day. When is the university going to permanently ban this “student group”?

— Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus (@CampusJewHate) May 26, 2024

Campus Reform, a higher education watchdog which first reported Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus’ posts, noted that Columbia SJP has added an “inverted red triangle” to its social media biography, further indicating its support for Hamas. The Palestinian terrorist group has used an inverted red triangle in its propaganda videos to indicate an Israeli target about to be attacked, and anti-Israel protesters on university campuses have been using the symbol in their demonstrations.

Columbia SJP, a group that has reformed under multiple organizations since being suspended by school administrators during the fall semester, has been central in staging a slew of riotous demonstrations in which anti-Zionist activists verbally assaulted Jewish students with antisemitic epithets, clamorously expressed support for terrorism and Hamas, and caused thousands of dollars in damages to school property.

The group’s behavior after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the StandWithUs Center for League Justice (SCLJ).

The complaint alleges that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, the pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library, according to the lawsuit. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

Following the incidents, pleas for help allegedly went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while SJP held its demonstrations. The school’s apparent powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a recognized school club, was denied permission to hold an event on self-defense. Events with “buzzwords” such as “Israel” and “Palestine” were forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events while no one explained the inconsistency.

The explosion of end-of-year protests held by the group forced Columbia officials to shutter the campus in April and institute virtual learning. Later, the group occupied Hamilton Hall, forcing President Minouche Shafik to call on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for help, a decision she hesitated to make. According to The Columbia Spectator, over 108 arrests were made.

“Yes, we’re all Hamas, pig!” one protester was filmed screaming during the fracas, which saw some verbal skirmishes between pro-Zionist and anti-Zionist partisans. “Long live Hamas!” said others who filmed themselves dancing and praising the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization. “Kill another solider!”

Amid the chaos, a prominent rabbi at the school urged Jewish students to leave the campus for the sake of their safety. Ultimately, the university cancelled its main commencement ceremony.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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