Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Egypt denies permission for any "Israel 60" celebrations

Palestine Press (Arabic) writes (autotranslated):
Newspaper "The Egyptians" said the Egyptian Interior Minister Major General Habib Adli issued strict instructions rejecting any request by the Israeli Embassy to obtain the approval of ceremonies to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of "Israel" on the land of Palestine, which occurs in mid-May.

Commenting on the news reported by "The Egyptians" yesterday about the desire of the Embassy of Israel hold a celebration on this occasion, Adli said "we are not in Europe or America, not the country we inadequate" and called on leaders of the ministry to attend a closed meeting to discuss making the necessary arrangements.

He asked the Director of the Giza security registration for names of any Egyptian political, diplomatic and media figures attending the ceremony at the invitation of the embassy, and noted that the Interior Ministry does not prevent any of its embassies in Egypt to establish a ceremony inside their buildings.

But the ministry has the right to object to any ceremony outside the embassy building, which made the Minister of the Interior give instructions to security leaders to refuse to approve any request from the embassy for a ceremony on this occasion at any Cairo hotel or boats on the Nile, or anywhere outside the embassy building.
The article doesn't say that the reason for denying any celebration is for security reasons; rather it is simply hostility towards Israel. Plus it obliquely threatens any Egyptian citizen who dares attend such a celebration.

Of course, the Israeli embassy had no intention of holding any large celebration outside its walls anyway. From April 26 Media Line:
“We have a problem in doing a big production like they do in the U.S. or in Europe,” says Shani Cooper, spokeswoman for the Israeli embassy in Cairo. “We have to stay limited within our boundaries, and to be honest, we don’t want to do something huge because it will touch a sore spot.”

The embassy is holding a reception for diplomatic staff and government officials, which some 400 guests are expected to attend. The backdrop of the reception will feature slides with Israeli landscapes, an Israeli singer will perform and, while Israeli wines will be served, non-alcoholic beverages will be provided for the observant Muslim guests.

“In an Arab country, with the current situation of the peace process and the media hostility in Egypt, it wouldn’t be right to do something ostentatious,” Cooper says.

Cooper is stationed in one of the toughest Israeli missions and faces many challenges as spokeswoman. Israel and Egypt signed a peace accord in 1979 and have full diplomatic relations. However, the views of Israel in the streets of Cairo, as reflected in the Egyptian media, remain very negative. The relationship is often described as a cold peace.