WikiLeaks docs expose Egyptian complicity with Israeli war crimes (again)

Israel/Palestine
on 47 Comments

One of the most striking things that I took away from my time in Egypt last winter was the extent to which the U.S.-backed Mubarak dictatorship goes to squash public dissent on their government’s Gaza policy. Swarms of riot police encircled countless peaceful protests calling on the Egyptian government to let activists part of the Gaza Freedom March into Gaza, and Egyptian police beat and injured activists part of the march. During the marchers’ standoff with the Mubarak regime, the Egyptian government was exposed as being collaborators in the Israeli blockade of Gaza, something that deeply upsets ordinary Egyptians and led to Mubarak getting hammered in the Arab press.

Egypt is being exposed once again as complicit in Israeli crimes, thanks to the over 250,000 documents the whistle blowing website WikiLeaks released yesterday. This revelation–that Israel consulted with Egypt and Fatah in the run up to the brutal Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-09–is decidedly more explosive than the very public complicity of the Egyptian government in the siege of Gaza.

Ha’aretz reports:

In a June 2009 meeting between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and a U.S. congressional delegation, Barak claimed that the Israeli government “had consulted with Egypt and Fatah prior to Operation Cast Lead, asking if they were willing to assume control of Gaza once Israel defeated Hamas.”

Egypt said no to the proposition, but the document shows that Egypt (and Fatah, but that’s for another post) had advance knowledge of Operation Cast Lead and could have stopped it. Instead, Mubarak was silent, the criminal assault went on, and some 1,400 Palestinians died because of it, the vast majority of them civilians.

Alex Kane blogs on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia in the U.S. at alexbkane.wordpress.comFollow him on Twitter.

47 Responses

  1. Avi
    November 29, 2010, 3:14 pm

    I don’t know. I wouldn’t be quick to jump on Barak’s words as proof of said consultation taking place. Ehud Barak has lied before. Many might recall his lies regarding the 2000 Camp David summit.

    Such claims serve Israel’s interests in its divide and control strategy in the region.

    It could very well be true that said consultation took place, but I just find it too convenient that the only ‘juicy’ detail to emerge thus far from the leaked documents is one implicating Arabs as complicit in the slaughter, vis-a-vis spreading the blame as is SOP for Israeli hasbara.

    • MRW
      November 29, 2010, 4:09 pm

      I’m with Avi on this one. Look at the date of that communique: 2009-06-02, which I am assuming is June 2, 2009…six months after Operation Cast Lead ended. The Israelis broke the ceasefire on Nov 4, 2008, alone, and as a surprise. Hamas said it was still willing to honor the cease-fire if the killing stopped. Israel provoked them again, and Hamas retaliated.

      THEN, Israel started the December shelling. It finally had a provocation that worked.

      I’m to believe that Barak talked to the Egyptians and Fatah before Nov 4, 2008, and Fatah did not alert the Gazans? Because Israel knew it was going to shell Gaza for months before it did it.

      This is Barak’s gossip to two of our guys six to eight months after the fact. So what.

      • MRW
        November 29, 2010, 4:17 pm

        This is a record of a conversation. That does not mean it’s a record of facts.

      • Antidote
        November 29, 2010, 5:33 pm

        Well worth remembering the difference, and leaked diplomatic cables from the past. Like the one that stated that al-Qadhafi did confess to having been behind the LaBelle bombing. This caused considerable diplomatic troubles, and was interpreted in various ways

        example from www. libyanet.com

        Monday, 28 May, 2001: A German top-secret memo, saying that Libyan leader Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi admitted to a 1986 bomb attack in Berlin, was leaked by the United States to thwart Germany’s economic interests in Libya, the weekly Welt am Sonntag reported today. The conservative newspaper, which quoted officials close to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his Social Democratic party, said Washington deliberately leaked the memo to embarrass Germany’s Wintershall oil group, a BASF-subsidiary, currently vying for a lucrative contract in Libya. Along with Shell, BP and TotalFinaElf, Wintershall is in talks with the Libyan government to buy a 60 per cent stake in an oil field from the state-owned NOC company. [AFP]

    • hophmi
      November 29, 2010, 4:16 pm

      “Many might recall his lies regarding the 2000 Camp David summit. ”

      Better known as truths supported by President Clinton and confronted only months later when the Palestinians realized they had to come up with something to rescue their status in the court of world opinion.

      “It could very well be true that said consultation took place, but I just find it too convenient that the only ‘juicy’ detail to emerge thus far from the leaked documents is one implicating Arabs as complicit in the slaughter”

      It is no surprise, given that in another cable, Egypt says it wants Hamas “isolated.”

      link to guardian.co.uk

      Mubarak is reported to detest Hamas and view it as an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood.

      “Mubarak hates Hamas, and considers them the same as Egypt’s own Muslim Brotherhood, which he sees as his own most dangerous political threat.”

      link to guardian.co.uk

      • Potsherd2
        November 29, 2010, 4:52 pm

        Lies supported by Clinton to cover up his own failure.

      • Shingo
        November 29, 2010, 7:37 pm

        “Better known as truths supported by President Clinton and confronted only months later when the Palestinians realized they had to come up with something to rescue their status in the court of world opinion.”

        Better known as the deal that sucked so badly even Shlomo Ben Ami, Israel’s foreign minister at the time, said he would have rejected it (were he Palestinian).

        “Mubarak is reported to detest Hamas and view it as an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

        Mubarak is a corrupt and ruthless tyrant who detests any group that poses a threat to his power.

      • RoHa
        November 30, 2010, 5:30 am

        truths supported by President Clinton

        Great one, hophmi. It’s the deadpan delivery that makes it hilarious.

    • annie
      November 29, 2010, 4:22 pm

      yeah, i’m sensing a theme developing of israel dumping it’s hasbara via the state department and the press. then they hump it over an over and claim the leaks confirm their hypothesis.

      • Avi
        November 29, 2010, 4:34 pm

        Better known as truths supported by President Clinton and confronted only months later when the Palestinians realized they had to come up with something to rescue their status in the court of world opinion.

        That’s a myth propagated by habitual propagandists like yourself.

      • hophmi
        November 29, 2010, 5:00 pm

        You forgot to deal with the substantive part of my comment addressing Mubarak.

      • Avi
        November 29, 2010, 6:09 pm

        There’s nothing “substantive” about it. It’s a well-known fact that most of these US-backed Arab regimes view any form of public participation in government as a threat to their own privileged positions.

        The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has long been viewed as a threat by the Mubarak government because the movement represents the will of the people. Egyptians, like most citizens around the world, want to have a say in the way their country is run. They don’t want a dictatorship.

        After the destruction of the pan-Arab Nasserite movement, The Muslim Brotherhood gained strength as an alternative, as a movement that emphasized self-governance over foreign interference and dictatorial client regimes.

        Much in the same way the House of Saud has sought to eradicate such movements in order to remain in power, so did Mubarak.

        Ergo, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Ehud Barak’s claims are true, nor does it mean that the NYT isn’t focusing on such details to further its own Zionist agenda.

      • Shingo
        November 29, 2010, 7:57 pm

        Avi,

        It seems that Hophmi has a soft spot for tyrannical dictators.

      • Shingo
        November 29, 2010, 7:40 pm

        “yeah, i’m sensing a theme developing of israel dumping it’s hasbara via the state department and the press. then they hump it over an over and claim the leaks confirm their hypothesis.”

        I think it’s becoming clear that this is precisely what is happening. Even the protestations coming from the white House seem half hearted. What better way to use leaks to ones advantage than to plant them and use Wikileaks as a means to achieve that?

        The Israelis are practically gloating about the leaks.

        Analysis: Wikileaks vindicate, don’t damage, Israel
        link to jpost.com

  2. Les
    November 29, 2010, 3:16 pm

    We still don’t know who is paying Mubarak to supply guards for the western wall of the Gaza Concentration Camp.

    • Henry Norr
      November 29, 2010, 3:40 pm

      >We still don’t know who is paying Mubarak to supply guards
      >for the western wall of the Gaza Concentration Camp.

      We don’t?!? I do. The following is from the U.S. State Department website, and undoubtedly it’s an underestimation:

      An important pillar of the bilateral relationship remains U.S. security and economic assistance to Egypt, which expanded significantly in the wake of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty in 1979. U.S. military aid to Egypt totals over $1.3 billion annually. In addition, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided over $28 billion in economic and development assistance to Egypt since 1975. …

      U.S. military cooperation has helped Egypt modernize its armed forces and strengthen regional security and stability. Under Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programs, the U.S. has provided F-4 jet aircraft, F-16 jet fighters, M-60A3 and M1A1 tanks, armored personnel carriers, Apache helicopters, antiaircraft missile batteries, aerial surveillance aircraft, and other equipment. The U.S. and Egypt also participate in combined military exercises, including deployments of U.S. troops to Egypt. Every other year, Egypt hosts Operation Bright Star, a multilateral military exercise with the U.S., and the largest military exercise in the region. Units of the U.S. 6th Fleet are regular visitors to Egyptian ports.”

      • Citizen
        November 29, 2010, 4:03 pm

        Yep. We also directly supplied the engineering troops to build the metal wall to stop the tunnels. I wonder if they ever finished that wall?

      • Citizen
        November 29, 2010, 4:10 pm

        Looks like Uncle Sam’s half billion dollar engineering project with Egypt to block the Gaza tunnels with sunken steel walls was foiled last June by Hamas engineers who melted them underground and used the steel for their own projects.

      • Citizen
        November 29, 2010, 4:11 pm
      • Psychopathic god
        November 29, 2010, 5:42 pm

        L0L!

        stupid brown people interfering with the most advanced technologists on the planet evah.

      • syvanen
        November 29, 2010, 6:22 pm

        I hadn’t seen that story but when the steel wall was first proposed I imagined how easy it would be to breech with an oxy-acetylene torch and a proper ventilation system. No surprise that this barrier failed.

      • Avi
        November 29, 2010, 4:20 pm

        They thought a 3″ – 4″ thick metal wall would stop the tunnel diggers.

        But, it didn’t. It’s business as usual for Gaza’s tunnel diggers, Army Corps of Engineers or not.

      • syvanen
        November 29, 2010, 9:11 pm

        3 to 4 inches thick. I don’t think so. Check your facts.

      • Avi
        November 30, 2010, 2:00 am

        syvanen November 29, 2010 at 9:11 pm

        3 to 4 inches thick. I don’t think so. Check your facts.

        link to news.bbc.co.uk

        The Egyptian government says it began constructing the barrier along the Gaza-Egypt border last year. When finished it is meant to be 11km-long (seven miles), stretching down 18m (59ft) underground.

        According to Egypt it is made of bomb-proof, super-strength steel and is costing millions of dollars to build.

        Mohammed smiles when he hears this.

        “We pay around a $1,000 (£665) for a man with an oxygen-fueled cutter to come and break through it. It takes up to three weeks to cut through but we get there in the end,” he says.

        Mohammed says the steel barrier is 5-10cm (2-4in) thick.

        The BBC spoke to one man in Gaza employed to cut through the barrier. He said he could cut a metre-square hole through it in less than a day.

  3. Potsherd2
    November 29, 2010, 3:49 pm

    Abbas is denying the report, but then, he would.

    Where I am dubious, Alex, is the idea that “Egypt could have stopped it.” How, exactly? It wasn’t exactly a secret that Israel was planning this crime, and the one item that jumps out of the cable at me is the claim that Israel thought the operation would “defeat Hamas” to the extent that anyone /i> would have been able to take over Gaza.

    As I see these circumstances, it seems that by refusing to consider the Israeli offer to get their own troops killed instead of spending precious Israeli lives, Mubarak and Abbas effectively limited the scope of the operation.

  4. hophmi
    November 29, 2010, 4:18 pm

    I know at least one way Egypt could have stopped it. They could have offered to take responsibility for Gaza off of Israel’s hands.

    • annie
      November 29, 2010, 4:44 pm

      they certainly could have allowed for the evacuation of women and children hophmi, but alas mubarak is a tool.

    • Potsherd2
      November 29, 2010, 4:57 pm

      And put Egyptian lives at risk to save Israeli lives.

    • Shingo
      November 29, 2010, 7:43 pm

      “I know at least one way Egypt could have stopped it. They could have offered to take responsibility for Gaza off of Israel’s hands.”

      Yes, how convenient would that be Hophmi? Divide and conquer (separating Gaza from teh West Bank), which in turn achieves 2 aims:

      1. Not only avoid negotiating with Hamas, but make them someone else’s problem
      2. Completely isolate Abbas, corner him and have him agree to the worst possible deal.

      • eee
        November 30, 2010, 5:47 pm

        Shingo,

        So the current situation is better for the Palestinians???

      • Shingo
        November 30, 2010, 6:09 pm

        Better than what Hophmi? Liberman’s and Netenyahu’s final solution?

    • eljay
      November 30, 2010, 6:30 pm

      >> I know at least one way Egypt could have stopped it. They could have offered to take responsibility for Gaza off of Israel’s hands.

      So this is how Zio-supremacists expect Palestinians to become a viable democracy? Interfere with their democratic processes; arrest or assassinate their leaders; steal and colonize their land; destroy their homes, infrastructure and lives; and, when you get tired of all that, hand the keys of the prison to a different warden? Seriously, could you be any more obviously hateful?

  5. Shingo
    November 29, 2010, 4:18 pm

    The fact that the meeting between Barak and Abbas took place before Cast Lead is further evidence that the attack on Gaza was pre meditated and had nothing to do with rocket atatcks.

    • hophmi
      November 29, 2010, 4:59 pm

      Yes, because as we all know, if an attack is not spontaneous, it can have no actual root causes. What kind of stupid reasoning is this? Do you think that because Israel actually planned the attack that it means the rocket attacks were not a cause?

      • Potsherd2
        November 29, 2010, 6:18 pm

        Israel planned the assault and incited the rocket attacks to justify it.

      • Shingo
        November 29, 2010, 7:46 pm

        “Yes, because as we all know, if an attack is not spontaneous, it can have no actual root causes.”

        What root causes would they be Hophmi? That tje 4 month ceasefire would continue and that Hamas were being seen to behave moderately?

        “What kind of stupid reasoning is this?”

        The stupid reasoning is that Israel claimed the attack on Gaza was due to rocket attacks, but not only were there no such attacks, but Israel entered into the ceasefire agreement with the full intent of sabotaging it.

        “Do you think that because Israel actually planned the attack that it means the rocket attacks were not a cause?”

        I know it for a fact. The rocket attacks were not a cause because there were no rocket attacks until Israel attacked Gaza.

        It’s called cause and effect Hophmi.

      • Sumud
        November 29, 2010, 11:10 pm

        Do you think that because Israel actually planned the attack that it means the rocket attacks were not a cause?

        If Israel were concerned with rockets it never would have broken the successful ceasefire on Nov 4, 2008. May the good people of Sderot wake up and realise Israel doesn’t give a flying fig if they live or die.

      • annie
        November 29, 2010, 11:36 pm

        because as we all know, if an attack is not spontaneous, it can have no actual root causes. What kind of stupid reasoning is this?

        oh, it is a silly little thing called keeping your word. it has to do w/an expectation when one makes an agreement (like a ceasefire) you go into it with honest intentions as opposed to using the lull to plan a war. it’s an integrity thing, something you may be unfamiliar with hophmi

    • Avi
      November 29, 2010, 5:03 pm

      Indeed it was premediated.

      In 2004, the Israeli army began building a dummy Arab city in the Negev desert. It’s the size of a real city, with streets (all of them given names), mosques, public buildings and cars. Built at a cost of $45 million, this phantom city became a dummy Gaza in the winter of 2006, after Hizbullah fought Israel to a draw in the north, so that the IDF could prepare to fight a ‘better war’ against Hamas in the south.

      link to lrb.co.uk

      The assault on Gaza in late 2008/early 2009 was — in that context — a long time coming.

      • hophmi
        November 30, 2010, 7:38 am

        Again, this proves little except that like any good army, Israel plans for strategic threats.

      • Sumud
        November 30, 2010, 8:20 am

        Again, this proves little except that like any good army, Israel plans for strategic threats.

        …and for a state unable to conceive of itself as not-at-war, for a state that makes tremendous profits from arms manufacture and war – including the US invasion of Iraq, and extracts billions of dollars annually from the US on account of it’s unwillingness to make peace with Palestine – the successful ceasefire of 2008 represented a tremendous strategic threat to Israel:

        ‘Foiling Another Palestinian “Peace Offensive”: Behind the bloodbath in Gaza’
        link to normanfinkelstein.com

        The maxim is, hophmi: “live by the sword, die by the sword”.

      • Shingo
        November 30, 2010, 5:37 pm

        “Again, this proves little except that like any good army, Israel plans for strategic threats.”

        I see, so a ceasefire with Hamas represented a strategic threat to Israel. Thanks for clarifying that Hophmi. Tzipi Livni also said that an extended ceasefire was not in Israel’s strategic interests, so you have a point.

        Funny isn’t it how all of Israel’s wars all happen perfectly according to plan?

        How to crate a Jewish state with a Jewish majority when the Jewish population are a minority? Not a problem – along comes the 1948 war and presto. Problem solved.

        Israeli leaders lament that Jerusalem, the West Bank and Golan Heights is not under their control? Not a problem – along comes the 1967 war and presto. Problem solved.

        Israeli leaders lament that Hezbollah are still in business. Not a problem – along comes the 2006 war, except that uh oh, Israel get their asses kicked.

        Israeli leaders lament that the 2006 war has damaged Israel’s deterrence capability. Not a problem – along comes the 2008 war and presto. Problem solved – at least i the minds of Israelis.

    • Walid
      November 29, 2010, 5:21 pm

      I remember it was all over the news how Livni ent to cairo to discuss with the Egyptians a few days before the assault started. On the day of the assault, Abbas was in Cairo.

      From the Dec 30, 2008 Washington Times:

      link to washingtontimes.com

      “… Egypt has come under heavy criticism in the Arab world over its refusal during the past year to open the Rafah crossing, which has helped complete an Israeli blockade of the territory. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also visited Egypt just before the assault, leading many to accuse Egypt of giving a green light to the attack.

      But Mubarak said opening the border would only increase the divide between the Hamas-controlled strip and the West Bank, which is run by Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority. “

  6. Kathleen
    November 29, 2010, 5:08 pm

    Quite a few interesting opinions and insights here
    * Comment is free
    * Cif America

    US embassy cables: Verdict on the leaks about the Middle East

    What do the cables released by WikiLeaks tell us about diplomacy and US foreign policy in the Middle East?

    * Gary Younge, Seumas Milne, Craig Murray, Richard Norton-Taylor, Juan Cole, Abbas Edalat, Phil Wilayto
    link to guardian.co.uk

  7. Psychopathic god
    November 29, 2010, 5:48 pm

    David Makovsky and Bob Satloff, pres of WINEP, led a delegation of WINEP trustees who are also Wall street bankers and venture capitalists, to Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Ramallah.

    The delegation was in Egypt at the time of election in Egypt, so someone in the audience at the WINEP report on the trip, “How did Muslim Brotherhood fare in election?”

    Very nonchalantly, Satloff (I think) reported, “Egyptian security forces cracked down on Brotherhood, arrested 1200 and jailed them . . .”

    link to c-spanvideo.org

    IMAGINE if that were Iran.

    • Shingo
      November 29, 2010, 7:55 pm

      “Very nonchalantly, Satloff (I think) reported, “Egyptian security forces cracked down on Brotherhood, arrested 1200 and jailed them . . .”

      And even more amusing was that Mubarak has been lauded by Washington for his great strides in implementing democratic reforms.

      And if that’s not bad enough, some even refer o Egypt as a democracy.

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