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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Telegraph takes a page from The Guardian

From The Telegraph:
Mr Suleiman, who is widely tipped to take over from Hosni Mubarak as president, was named as Israel's preferred candidate for the job after discussions with American officials in 2008.

As a key figure working for Middle East peace, he once suggested that Israeli troops would be "welcome" to invade Egypt to stop weapons being smuggled to Hamas terrorists in neighbouring Gaza.

The details, which emerged in secret files obtained by WikiLeaks and passed to The Daily Telegraph, come after Mr Suleiman began talks with opposition groups on the future for Egypt's government.
Did Suleiman really say that Israel was welcome to invade Egypt? Does that even make sense?

Let's look at the memo, from December 17, 2007:
A serious political commitment, supported by dedicated and properly trained personnel, is key to progress. The Egyptians claim that they respond aggressively to Israeli intelligence leads, while both sides bicker over whether and how Egypt could deploy more Border Guard Forces. Meanwhile, the Egyptians continue to offer excuses for the problem they face: the need to "squeeze" Hamas, while avoiding being seen as complicit in Israel's "siege" of Gaza. Egyptian General Intelligence Chief Omar Soliman told us Egypt wants Gaza to go "hungry" but not "starve." Minister of Defense Field Marshal Tantawi and the Director of Military Intelligence MG Mowafy both pressed recently for the return of EUBAM monitors to oversee the crossing between Gaza and Egypt of Palestinians with urgent humanitarian circumstances. In their moments of greatest frustration, Tantawi and Soliman each have claimed that the IDF would be "welcome" to re-invade Philadelphi, if the IDF thought that would stop the smuggling...
The Philadelphi Corridor they are talking about is on the Gaza side, not Egypt (hence the terminology "re-invade.") Israel controlled the corridor before the disengagement from Gaza, when they handed it over to the PA, and then Hamas took it over when they took Gaza.

Certainly Suleiman made statements that would not endear him to the Arab street, such as saying that Egypt wants Gaza to go hungry but not starve (a statement that mirrors one that Dov Weisglass said in 2006 and was slammed for.)  But it is absurd to say that Suleiman would welcome an invasion of his country!

For the Telegraph to push this lie is simply more Guardian-type advocacy journalism - misrepresentations of primary source documents specifically meant to influence Egyptians into thinking Suleiman was an Israeli patsy.