If the Shoe Fits..
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher has been attacked by PLO Arabs at the al-Aqsa Mosque.
As Maher made his way into the mosque, scores of Palestinians, shouting Allahu Akbar (“God is great”) converged on him and began berating him for his meetings with Israeli leaders.
“Traitor! Collaborator!” they screamed at him, with some of them pelting him with their shoes, both inside and outside the mosque.
“I’m going to choke, I’m going to choke,” a panicked-looking Maher was heard saying, according to witnesses, as one of the shoes ñ which by Muslim tradition are taken off at the entrance to mosques ñ apparently hit him in the face.
Striking someone with a shoe is considered a great sign of Muslim insult.
At this point, Jerusalem police rushed into the mosque and helped the Egyptian bodyguards extradite Maher from the compound, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said.
As usual, the BBC put an anti-Israel slant on the incident.
But the BBC’s Jill McGivering, in Jerusalem, says the incident is likely to prove embarrassing for the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, as well as Egypt.
While the implication here is that somehow Israel is responsible for the incident, the truth is something entirely different.
By previous arrangement with Maher’s Egyptian security team, Jerusalem police, who are charged with security at the site, walked with the minister up to the mosque and, in keeping with tradition, remained outside the site as the Egyptian entourage entered.
The incident could not have been prevented by Israeli security forces. Thus only the Egyptians and PLO Arabs should be feeling embarassed.
The responses of the Egyptians and PA are also very enlightening.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he “deeply regrets” the attack.
Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority “firmly condemned” the attack, Palestinian Negotiations Minister Saeb Erekat told French news agency AFP, while Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said he was “shocked and furious”.
Now try getting any Egyptian or PA official to denounce a suicide bombing in such harsh terms.