|Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
19 - 25 April 2001
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
RSVPSir- Please publish this open letter to the Israeli ambassador.
To: His Excellency the Ambassador of Israel
From: An Egyptian citizen who supported the peace treaty and normalisation between the two countries
I met some Israeli diplomats at a cocktail soon after the Israeli embassy opened in Egypt; we exchanged business cards and ever since I have been receiving the annual invitation to your so-called "Independence Day." (I never thought about it till this year -- "independence"? from what? Probably I was overwhelmed by the peace treaty after all these years of hostilities.)
Friendship developed with the Israeli diplomats, and we even exchanged home visits; that is how strongly I felt about peace and normalisation. The friendship I refer to entails respect of one another's culture and beliefs, including places of worship, which is far from what your present prime minister has shown.
Watching the armoured trucks, tanks, and the Israeli soldiers pointing their guns at the helpless Palestinian children breaks my heart, in the same way as watching the Somali children dying of starvation does.
We know that you have a strong army; it even becomes a monster in front of children with nothing but stones for defence, who are attempting to catch the world's attention. We know you can crush them in a few hours, not 100 days as Mr Sharon has promised. Palestine is a nation with no army and no natural resources. Its only income comes from the poor labourers that cross the borders every morning to do your dirty jobs in return for a few shekels a day -- which you even deny them -- and of course the charity it receives from the rich Arab states.
Your Excellency, on behalf of many Egyptians I would like you to relay to your government that we will not attend your party. We regard that date as the occupation day of the state of Palestine. We will exert every possible effort to encourage as many Egyptians and expatriates as possible not to attend in protest against your government's policies and brutality towards defenceless children.
Your Excellency, the price your government has to pay for peace is very insignificant. This is not just about Middle East peace, it is about the peace and safety of your and our children. The peace started by Sadat/Begin is losing momentum. Let it not slip from between our hands. Breaking that deadlock was a great step, but unfortunately your present government is driving us back into it again.
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