Egyptian TV panelists pin Sinai mosque massacre on Israel and ‘the Jews’

Egyptian TV panelists pin Sinai mosque massacre on Israel and ‘the Jews’

Participants in debate say attack in which over 300 were killed is part of Mossad plot to empty peninsula of its inhabitants, replace them with Palestinians

A picture taken on November 25, 2017, shows the Rawda mosque, roughly 40 kilometres west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish, after a gun and bombing attack. (AFP Photo/Stringer)
A picture taken on November 25, 2017, shows the Rawda mosque, roughly 40 kilometres west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish, after a gun and bombing attack. (AFP Photo/Stringer)

Participants in a debate on Egyptian television claimed Israel and “the Jews” were behind the November 24 terror attack at a Sinai mosque that claimed the lives of over 300 people, as part of a plot to drive out the local population.

In a clip from the TV program that aired on November 26, Sheikh Aref Abu Akr, a tribal chief in the Sinai, blamed the massacre on Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency.

“The Israeli Mossad was behind this. Why are we so afraid that we bury our heads in the sand? It is the Jews who are behind this,” he said, according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“They want to empty out Sinai and drive out the population, so that they will be able to move in easily. Over our dead bodies! We won’t let them into Sinai,” he added.

Israel has strongly condemned the attack in the North Sinai that left over 300 dead, calling it “terrible and despicable.” Top Israeli officials also expressed solidarity with the Egyptians and said Jerusalem stood with Cairo in facing the terrorist threat.

Another guest, Abdelmun’im Rifai, claimed the attack was part of a plan laid out in a Tel Aviv University PhD dissertation he read to make Sinai “an alternative state for the Palestinians.

“The fact that the Mossad is meddling in Sinai is beyond discussion,” he claimed.

“The PhD dissertation recommended — and this was accepted by the Israeli Mossad — the dissertation said that all development in Sinai must be stopped, for the sake of the Zionist plan of an alternative [Palestinian] state,” he said.

He then claimed the author of the PhD described two ways Israel could accomplish this goal. “One is the diplomatic track, which is useless, and the other way is to cause instability there, until the Egyptian state ultimately gives in, and agrees to turn Egypt into an alternative state for the Palestinians,” he said.

The show’s host agreed with his guests that “the goals of the terrorist groups and of Zionism have undoubtedly merged.”

The attack is thought to have been carried out by the jihadist Islamic State or its affiliates, who have carried out a series of terrorist attacks in the Sinai, in part because the mosque is associated with followers of the mystical Sufi branch of Sunni Islam, and IS targets any who do not follow its version of Islam.

Discarded shoes of victims remain outside Al-Rawda Mosque in Bir al-Abd northern Sinai, Egypt. a day after attackers killed hundreds of worshipers, on November 25, 2017. (AP Photo)

During the TV debate, Abu Akr asserted that the Mossad was not merely working with terror groups such as IS but was responsible for their creation.

“It is the Mossad that created these groups. Like in Iraq and Syria, where America pampered these terrorists, and now it’s moved them to Libya. Now we have to fight them on the other side as well,” he said.

The notion that Israel is to blame for much of the woes of the Middle East, and even the world, is a common one in Arab countries, and is frequently peddled by pundits in regional media.

Following the terror attack, a regular columnist for the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper claimed Israel was behind the bomb and shooting attack on the Rawdah mosque in the town of Bir al-Abd, roughly 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the North Sinai capital of el-Arish.

Writing in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on Sunday, Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul blamed “The US, Israel, and their pawns” for the massacre. The column was translated by Palestinian Media Watch, a media monitoring group, on Monday.

“They do not want Egypt — the symbol of Arabness — to rise, recover, and restore to itself its leading pan-Arab role. The US, Israel, and their pawns know well that the resurrection of Egypt means the resurrection of all the peoples of the Arab nation, and therefore the colonial need dictates keeping Egypt in a state of political, security, economic, and social exhaustion,” al-Ghoul wrote.

Egyptians walk past bodies following a terror attack at the Rawda mosque, roughly 40 kilometers west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish, on November 24, 2017. (AFP Photo/Stringer)

The PA’s Al-Hayat Al-Jadida daily has often published accusations of Israel being responsible for terror attacks in the region, PMW noted. Following an attack in the Sinai last month in which six Egyptian soldiers were killed, the daily quoted a PLO official who said “the Zionist enemy” was responsible.

“Palestinian Liberation Front political bureau member Muhammad Al-Soudi said… that the crime that was committed against the heroic Egyptian army soldiers in northern Sinai is not unrelated to the phenomenon of terror in the region, which is sustained by the aggressive forces in the region and prime among them the Zionist enemy, which is focused on taking apart the Arab nation, its states, and its capabilities, and keeping it busy with disagreements that divert it from the struggle against [the Zionist enemy] and its aspirations in Palestine and the entire Arab region,” the paper wrote, according to the watchdog group.

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