Egyptian Press Blasts 'American-Israeli Pressures' on Jerusalem
The Egyptian press on Saturday denounced "American-Israeli pressures" over the status of Jerusalem, as newspapers devoted their front pages to rebutting a US columnist's critique of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
"It is clear that there are desperate and provocative US-Israeli attempts pressure Egypt into giving up its courageous role in regaining Jerusalem," wrote Samir Ragab, editor in chief of the state newspaper Al-Gumhuriya.
Responding to a recent New York Times column by Thomas Friedman questioning Mubarak's efforts in the Middle East peace process, Ragab wrote that Mubarak "is free to do whatever he wants and adopt the necessary positions to preserve the rights" of Arabs.
The government dailies Al-Ahram and Al-Akbar, along with the state-run weekly Ros al-Yussef, also used their front pages to blast Friedman, who had asked what Washington has received from its aid to Cairo, amounting to 2.1 billion dollars a year since Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1978.
The Egyptian press has spent the past few days criticizing the US position during the Camp David summit between Israel and the Palestinians, saying that Washington's role was biased "and incompatible with that of an honest broker."
The director of Al-Ahram, Ibrahim Nafie, said the US recommendation to delay the discussions on Jerusalem was essentially asking the Palestinians to accept the status quo, as Israel wanted Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to sign a statement declaring the two sides' conflict over.
"No Arab or Muslim leader can accept making concessions on Jerusalem, as it's an issue concerning the world's one billion Muslims," said Nafie, who is close to Mubarak.
Tahsin Beshir, a former Egyptian diplomat who worked for the late president Anwar Sadat, suggested that the most practical solution at this point would be to delay the Jerusalem issue for a set number of years, with assurances the Israelis will not alter the demographic balance of the holy city in the meantime.
"A second proposal would be to make Jerusalem a second Vatican under Palestinian sovereignty, and a third proposal would be to apply the UN General Assembly resolution from 1949 on Jerusalem calling for a special status for the city and UN administration," Beshir told AFP - CAIRO (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)