Embassy Leaks: Israel’s Fallen Egyptian Friends
Published Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Documents tossed out of the Israeli embassy in Cairo by protesters last Friday exposed the friendly relations between prominent Egyptian politicians and Israel, and the latter’s sense of entitlement to service by Egyptian authorities.
Cairo - Documents flew in the air, appearing like stars falling from the sky. A 20-year-old protester watched in disbelief as one by one they fell to the ground. The look of astonishment was even greater among the faces of Egyptian protesters who broke into the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Friday September 9. Egyptian security are still at a loss as to how such a breakdown could occur. Amid the confusion, police took out their frustration on protesters, running them over with armored vehicles and chasing them down the street.
The falling documents revealed what the public already suspected about Israel’s friendly relations with members of the Egyptian diplomatic community. Among the paper barrage were letters and correspondence exchanged between the Israeli embassy and a number of Egyptian diplomats and opposition figures. Perhaps the most surprising document is one signed “your faithful friend,” belonging to Talat al-Sadat, Anwar al-Sadat’s nephew who opposed Hosni Mubarak’s regime. Talat al-Sadat was a former member of the Egyptian parliament and became chairman of the former National Democratic Party, now dissolved after Mubarak’s resignation from the party.
The document is a dinner invitation that Sadat extended to former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Gideon Ben Ami, and his wife. The event was to be held at Sadat’s home, commemorating the end of Ben Ami’s term as ambassador in Egypt. Contained in the invitation is an assurance to the ambassador that the party will be attended by some of “Sadat’s peace-loving friends.” The letter also contains affirmation of Sadat’s respect for the ambassador and extends his best wishes to his “friends” the Israelis, beseeching God to preserve peace in the region. In the letter, Sadat’s promises the ambassador that he will hold another party if the latter is unable to attend the current one.
Sadat is not the only one whose name was revealed by the documents. Abdel Latif el-Manawy, head of the news division at Egypt’s national television during the last days of the Mubarak regime, is also implicated. The documents included an on-going correspondence and periodic invitations between the Israeli ambassador in Cairo and former Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, linked to coordination efforts between the two countries in relation to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Other documents include requests for licenses to carry firearms by the embassy's diplomatic corps. One such document requests a license for Jorn Erez to carry a Glock 9mm pistol, number 606 cvv, in accordance with article five of law number 394 of the year 1954. Another document requests a weapon for diplomat Gershon Ben-Shaul Schumer, license number 1709 and for diplomat Eliyahu Amidi, license number 1537 for a Brita 22mm pistol, number 47879.
The documents also include official letters from the embassy to service ministries. On one occasion, the Israeli embassy requested a high voltage generator from the Ministry of Electricity and Energy for celebrations of Israel’s “independence” day that coincides with the anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba.There are also requests to provide Israelis with free six-months residency in Egypt and requests for customs clearance. Egyptian IDs were also found among the documents. One ID is for a person named Ali Mohammad Abdel Latif Abdallah, who lives on 28 Hassan al-Anwar street in old Cairo, with the word “okay" written on it. There is also a check signed by the Israeli embassy from its Citibank account in the amount of EGP 30,262 (Egyptian pounds), but it does not include the name of the payee to whom the check was issued.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.