Shadow Boxing at Sharm al-Sheikh
By Iqbal Jassat | January 11, 2010
As the media focus fades away from Egypt and the unprecedented brawl that occurred in the streets of Cairo, it is likely that the world will yet again be treated to Mubarak’s routine antics at Sharm al-Sheikh.
The Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh often serves as the setting for Mubarak to distract global attention from his political failures. It is here that he usually appears in a fake mask to don the appearance of a “peace-maker”, ostensibly to pursue “peace” on behalf of the Occupied Palestinians.
To add further mockery he usually has Mahmoud Abbas in tow to keep nodding his head in approval. Of course the seat on his right is usually reserved for whichever butcher in Israel may have been elected leader of the colonial-settler state.
And peeping over his shoulder will be the incumbent US Secretary of State, ensuring that the American puppet does not stray from the carefully worded pro-Israeli script. After all, the script would be prepared by a bunch of neo-conners or their hangers-on who share the view most recently expressed by New York’s Ed Koch, that Muslims are terrorists.
Thus room only for pliant betrayers such as the PA’s American-backed Fatah elite – not for movements such as Hamas listed by the US as terrorists! They and the rest of Palestine’s freedom fighters who are not exiled or are in the dungeons of Israel and the West Bank, courtesy of Abu Mazen, are in fact the target of proceedings at Sharm al-Sheikh!
Five years ago during February 2005, Mubarak hosted Ariel Sharon who on the eve of the summit at Sharm el-Sheikh even announced a willingness to declare that Israel would cease military activities against all Palestinians. There was optimism all round as well as the hollow rhetoric of Abu Mazen along the line of “… A new opportunity for peace is born today in the city of peace”.
What utter rubbish! Hoodwinking public opinion and raising false expectations has been a favorite pastime of the Palestinian Authority.
Mainstream western media was as usual quick to applaud this false dawn.
What they chose to ignore was Sharon’s public instruction to Abu Mazen to act against the resistance: “…To dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, to disarm and subdue it once and for all”.
The so-called “breakthrough” and the promise of “calm and hope” was no more than the artful trick of deception of which past and current Israeli leaders are known for.
It didn’t take long for Sharon to display his fraud. A day after the summit a twenty-year-old Palestinian in Gaza was shot dead from an Israeli army post near the settlement of Atzmona. A day later, another Palestinian was shot and killed as he was driving through the neighbourhood of Wadi al-Haramiya near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Not surprising, mainstream western media ignored these two routine shootings. What attracted their attention and grabbed headlines was when Hamas fired mortars and Qassam rockets at an Israeli settlement in Gaza in response to the shootings.
The international media led by US media blamed Palestinians for “breaking the ceasefire” only two days after the Mubarak brokered agreement as Sharm el-Sheikh – without any reference to the shootings!
Gaza’s suffering prior to the December 2008 bloodbath and following it with the on-going siege is reflective of a tragic narrative that sadly has been compounded by unfair and irresponsible media reports.
Mubarak’s role as Israel’s gatekeeper is similarly unaccounted by US media organizations. That many hundreds of American activists mobilized in Cairo against his high-handed approach in keeping the Rafah border gate sealed, did not warrant US media attention. It’s a tendency that says to the Occupied Palestinians that while we will apply pressure on you, we will retain absolute silence on Israeli brutality.
Meanwhile Mubarak will hand out gold-etched invitations to the paparazzi of western media as soon as he decides to sponsor another round of shadow boxing at Sharm al-Sheikh.
- Iqbal Jassat is chairperson of the Media Review Network (MRN), an advocacy group based in Pretoria, South Africa.