29 DECEMBER 2008
Mr. Tony Blair
Middle East Quartet Envoy
9 Grosvenor Square
Dear Mr Blair,
Your recent comment that Israel should immediately stop its military actions in Gaza is ironic since you are partially responsible for the situation.
Consider the many visits at this time of the year you and your family paid to the resorts on the Red Sea coast courtesy of the Egyptian Government. It was to your shame that with your meetings with President Mubarak at Sharem and Cairo during these visits you remained silent about the tunnels between Egypt and Gaza.
Given these opportunities, not once did you ever discuss the halting of the tunnels from Gaza into Sinai with Mubarack and certainly no public statements were ever made to this effect. You were approached as early as January 2004 but your office at number 10 Downing St advised this was the responsibility of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and not yours – what duplicity. (Letter on 10 Downing St. notepaper signed by Robert Gardikiotis 8 January 2004 in response to my letter of 4 January 2004)
At a subsequent meeting on 7 March 2004 in Chequers with Mubarack, once again the tunnel issues were not discussed and no public statement was made despite the main topic on the agenda being the Middle East "Road Map".
I am enclosing a copy of a letter sent to you on the 9 March 2004 immediately after this meeting to which there has never been the courtesy of an acknowledgement or a reply. The sentiments I expressed in this letter were applicable then as they were up to last Friday night.
In your role as Prime Minister and subsequent Quartet Mid East Envoy you have employed double standards, duplicity and above all spin to denigrate Israel.
Ironically, for the past 60 years it has been the wealthy oil rich Arab Mid East states who ignored the plight of their Arab brethren and still only play financial lip service whilst turning up the anti Israel/Jewish politically rhetoric. If they would have provided financial assistance to their brethren instead of using the oil wealth to wallow in luxury the problems of the area would have been solved a long time ago.
It is not for the west to provide such aid and certainly not for Israel or the Jewish Diaspora to provide these funds – lets stop this nonsense once and for all.
The blame lies fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the British Government for appeasing the Arab tribes of today’s Saudi Arabia by their duplicity in handling the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.
9 March 2004
Rt. Hon. Tony Blair
10 Downing St
Dear Prime Minister,
Meeting with Egyptian President in Chequers 7 March 2004
I understand from press reports and the official Egyptian Government web site that at your meeting with President Mubarak of Egypt the main topic on the agenda was the situation in the Palestinian territories and the Middle East "Road Map" and that a Foreign & Commonwealth Office spokesman said that the meeting has a special significance due to the successive developments in the Middle East region.
On the 4 January 2004 I wrote to you after your meeting with President Mubarak in Egypt and stated. "Whilst Israel signed the Peace Treaty with Egypt over twenty years ago, this has been a cold peace, Israel returning Sinai and the Egyptian media still continue promulgating anti-Semitism of the highest order even today, not seen since the period of the Nazis. President Mubarak has made no effort to prevent this promulgation of anti-Semitism.
During your discussions with Mubarak over the role Egypt could play, you had a responsibility to clearly indicate the displeasure of the UK with this situation.
Furthermore, this responsibility extends to clearly and unequivocally advising Egypt that it can have no role to play whilst it allows the smuggling of weapons, explosives and ammunition through the tunnels from Egypt that terminate in the southern residential extremities of the Gaza Strip. The International Solidarity Movement who have a number of vocal UK members, deliberately hinders the work of the Israel Defence Forces which seek to destroy these tunnels since the munitions etc. are being used by terrorists against Jewish civilians, and no other purpose." (see enclosure).
It would appear that you chose not to discuss the matter of these tunnels with the President and Government of Egypt in January. Since then the Israeli Defence Forces have uncovered numerous tunnels that were and are still in active service today. How is it that you are prepared to accept that a sovereign country is prepared not enforce the rule of law to prevent the construction and use of these tunnels for smuggling weapons, ammunition and explosives to fan the flames and attack Israel? I have enclosed an article by Uri Dan that was published in The Jerusalem Post on the 4 March 2004 where he deals in depth with this issue and considers Egypt’s refusal an "Invitation to War".
I am also enclosing a reply from the Direct Communications Unit which advised me that the matter I raised in my letter of 4th January is the responsibility of the F&CO and my letter has been forwarded to them for a reply. Is it that the staff at the Unit cannot understand plain English since the letter related to topics that you personally discussed with the Egyptian President in January and not the F&CO, which incidentally still has not provided a response.
You have failed in your moral responsibility as Prime Minister to publicly apprehend President Mubark for his failure to act on this issue.
4 January, 2004
Rt. Hon. Tony Blair
10 Downing St
Dear Prime Minister,
Meeting with Egyptian President in Sharm-el-Sheik
I understand from Israeli press reports that prior to your departure to Iraq you met with President Mubarak of Egypt to discuss the way forward with respect to Israel.
It is reported on the BBC website that you also spoke about the virus of Islamic Terror. In the latter context, Israel has suffered at the hands of Islamic terror since before the modern state came into being in 1948. It is somewhat ironic that you make such statements when as early as August 1929, during the period of the British Mandate, Islamic terrorists took to the streets to murder Jews, yet at the same time you have the temerity to say that the terrorism that Israel experiences currently is different from the Islamic terror you openly discuss.
Whilst Israel signed the Peace Treaty with Egypt over twenty years ago, this has been a cold peace, Israel returning Sinai and the Egyptian media still continue promulgating anti-Semitism of the highest order even today, not seen since the period of the Nazis. President Mubarak has made no effort to prevent this promulgation of anti-Semitism. During your discussions with Mubarak over the role Egypt could play, you had a responsibility to clearly indicate the displeasure of the UK with this situation. Furthermore, this responsibility extends to clearly and unequivocally advising Egypt that it can have no role to play whilst it allows the smuggling of weapons, explosives and ammunition through the tunnels from Egypt which terminate in the southern residential extremities of the Gaza Strip. The International Solidarity Movement who have a number of vocal UK members, deliberately hinders the work of the Israel Defence Forces which seek to destroy these tunnels since the munitions etc. are being used by terrorists against Jewish civilians, and no other purpose.
I am enclosing a copy of the editorial that appeared in the Jerusalem Post of 17 October 2003, entitled "Egypt's Responsibility", which summarised the position of three months ago and is clearly applicable today.
Unlike other correspondence that I have sent to you, on this occasion I believe I am entitled to a detailed reply. I appreciate, as Prime Minister, that you receive numerous letters, however there is a special department set up to deal with them. Regrettably this facet of your organisation does not have the courtesy to provide even an acknowledgement - a sad reflection on what you claim to be a 'Listening Government'.
Invitation to war by Uri Dan, Jerusalem Post 4 March 2004
The absurd idea that Israel should transfer responsibility for security for the southern Gaza Strip - the Philadelphia corridor - to Egypt arose during Labor Party leader Shimon Peres's visit to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak last week.
Peres returned with a rosy message: Egypt is willing to assume responsibility for security on its border with Gaza once Israel uproots its settlements there. Mubarak also demanded that Israel uproot the settlements in Judea and Samaria.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon proposed his plan for disengagement from the Palestinians after he despaired, with good reason, of reaching even some kind of interim arrangement with the Palestinians in this generation. But transferring responsibility for the security of the southern Gaza-Egypt border to Cairo would endanger the cold peace with Egypt.
For years Egypt made no effort to prevent the smuggling of arms through Egyptian-controlled Rafiah into Palestinian Rafiah. Numerous discussions between the heads of the Shin Bet Egyptian intelligence boss Omar Suleiman - as well as direct appeals to Mubarak - have been to no avail.
If Egypt wanted, it could have stopped the smuggling years ago. Cairo did not hesitate to arrest - and kill - hundreds of Egyptian Islamic Jihad members, far from the media spotlight, who threatened the regime. Egyptian Jihad is the spiritual father of Bin-Laden's gang.
In contrast, on the border with Gaza the Egyptians prefer turning a blind eye to the numerous professionally excavated tunnels dug by the Palestinians. In this way, the Egyptians demonstrate their support for the Palestinian struggle.
Consequently, only the persistent and heroic efforts of IDF soldiers to detect and destroy the tunnels have prevented the smuggling of Katyushas capable of threatening Ashkelon and Ashdod, and AA missiles that would threaten Israel's air space.
The army has fought bitter battles in the Philadelphia corridor against Palestinian terrorists, destroying houses that conceal the entrances to the tunnels, and the tunnels themselves.
Yasser Arafat attaches tremendous importance to this smuggling route from Egypt. Only this week he lauded the battles there as Rafiahgrad.
DOES PERES really think that if Israel were to transfer total responsibility for security on this border to Egypt, Cairo would suddenly halt the weapons smuggling? Perhaps the Egyptians would find it politically convenient to halt the smuggling for a few months because of their relations with the US or in order to deceive public opinion here.
However, only a self-deluded politician or general could believe that Egypt intends to change its policy of encouraging Palestinian terror aimed at weakening Israel.
It was an earlier delusion that explains why Yitzhak Rabin and Peres allowed Arafat to return to Gaza from Tunis in the summer of 1994. Arafat promptly smuggled weapons and known terrorists in the trunk of his Mercedes. In Oslo days, arms intended for the PA passed freely across the Egypt-Gaza border.
Ceding the security of southern Gaza to Cairo after an Israeli withdrawal would endanger the cold peace. Not only would there be no peace with the Palestinians, but even the peace agreement with Egypt would be undermined. Israel would then return to square one, but under more dangerous conditions.
Recall that Israel was forced to go to war against Egypt in 1956 when terrorist attacks from the Egyptian-controlled Gaza Strip against the south became unbearable. In 1967, as a first step in the build-up of Egyptian forces in Sinai, president Gamal Abdul Nasser expelled the UN forces from the Gaza Strip, where they had been deployed since 1957 in accordance with the cease-fire agreement between Israel and Egypt.
Peres should have remembered these facts, since he was a member of the government that went to war against Egypt. Is Peres now prepared to transfer responsibility for security on the Israeli-Egyptian border to Mubarak and thus invite the possibility of another war with Egypt? It is not surprising that the Egyptians themselves hesitate to accept this poisonous gift. At least they remember the destructive results of those wars with Israel.
The writer is a correspondent for The New York Post.
This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1078373358451