Tag Archives: Egypt

Israeli Exceptionalism – According to the State Department

The State Department issues Travel Warnings to countries around the world when "long-term, protracted conditions that make a country or region dangerous or unstable, recommending that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country or region.

It then lists the countries and regions which meet those criteria.


On July 13, 2012 two American tourist were kidnapped at gunpoint in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula by Bedouin tribesman.

The State Department has issued no travel warning for Egypt, or the Sinai peninsula.

This kidnapping followed a previous kidnapping of American tourist in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula on February 4, 2012.

The State department has described these incidents as, quote, a "multiple kidnappings in the Sinai of U.S. citizens over the past four years, including U.S. citizens entering Sinai from Israel or transiting Sinai to Israel. Kidnappings of foreign tourists in the Sinai have increased since January 2012. The danger of overland travel in the Sinai is significant and overland travel from Israel to the Sinai is strongly discouraged."

Yet, the State Department has issued no travel warning for Egypt, or the Sinai peninsula.

On August 5, 2012, there was a terrorist attack in Egypt, on the Sinai-Israel border. The perpetrators, members of a terrorist group active in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula, had killed 16 Egyptian soldiers, then went on to force their way into Israel with an apparent goal to attack a civilian Israeli town nearby.

The terrorist were quickly killed and their two vehicles were destroyed in a coordinated air and land Israeli operation.

The State Department has issued no travel warning for Egypt, or the Sinai peninsula.

A few days earlier, on August 2, 2012, rockets were launched from the Egyptian Sinai peninsula, landing in the Jordanian Red-Sea resort town of Aqaba, and the near-by Israeli Red-Sea resort town of Eilat.  One Aqaba man has been killed, 5 others were injured. No casualties have been reported in Eilat.

Egyptian forces were reportedly combing the Sinai peninsula for vehicles allegedly used in the launch of this rocket barrage on Israel and Jordan.

This time around, the State Department has issued a travel warning, but only for Israel.

No travel warning has been issued for Egypt, the Sinai peninsula, Jordan or Aqaba.

The travel warning that has been issued on August 5, 2012, included the line, "rockets have been fired recently into the Eilat and Aqaba areas. U.S. citizens in Eilat and southern Israel are advised to ascertain the location of the nearest bomb shelter."

No similar warning was issued for Jordan.

In response, On Monday, August 6, 2012, Israel's Tourism Ministry complained that the warning unfairly singled out Eilat for precautionary advice but not Aqaba, which is next door in Jordan.

The Israeli complaint said that "This advisory gives a prize to terror and undermines regional stability and the sense of security that Israel gives to everyone who enters the country…. Differentiating Israel from its neighbor that actually suffered loss of life is improper and lacks balance."

On August 10, the State Department issued a new travel warning for Israel, which replaced the August 5th notice and doesn't mention Eilat at all, only saying, "U.S. citizens in the area should be aware of the risks and should follow the advice of the Government of Israel's office of Homefront Command."

Still, no similar warning was issued for Jordan.

When questioned by reporters, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley explained that the change was made in part because there was a disparity between the Israeli travel warning and the lack of a similar warning for Jordan.

"I'm not denying it's unusual to change a travel warning two times in two weeks," said a State Department official, speaking on background. The official said State took the blame for the error.
"We listened to what Israel had to tell us but it was a process failure here at the Department," the official said.

To date, no State Department travel warning has been issued for Egypt, the Sinai peninsula, Jordan or Aqaba.

The State Department's travel warning for Israel, however, still stands, alongside some other countries whose governments are unstable and/or plagued by internal violence and upheaval, such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.


Obama Snubs Israel – Again!

Obama snubs Israel by not inviting it to an international organization it naturally belongs to.

According to the MIPT (Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism) Terrorism Knowledge Base, which covers the period from 1968-2006, Israel suffered the fifth highest number of terror fatalities of any country over those years.

Calculated per capita, however (using today’s population figures), Israel moves into third place, having lost 19.2 lives per 100,000 people to terrorism over that period.

As a result of its frequent targeting by Palestinian terrorism, Israel is considered to be one country with vast experience in fighting terror.


On September 22, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has launched the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) – an Obama-Administration initiative “to build the international architecture for dealing with 21st century terrorism… provide a unique platform for senior counterterrorism policymakers and experts from around the world to work together to identify urgent needs, devise solutions and mobilize resources for addressing key counterterrorism challenges.”

The Obama administration chose Turkey to co-chair the GCTF. Turkey’s Islamist-leaning government disputes that Hamas is a terrorist group.

Obama snubs Israel - Clinton, Davutoglu, GCTF
Hillary Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu, co-chairing GCTF launch, September 22, 2011.

The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) has been assembled by the United States as a multilateral counterterrorism body with 30 founding members (29 countries plus the EU) from around the world:

Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

But Obama snubs Israel, again – Israel was not included by the Obama administration as a member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum.

11 of the 29 GCTF state-members (Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates) are also members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), some of which are hostile towards Israel.  All subscribe to the OIC’s 1999 Convention on Combating Terrorism which states that “armed struggle against foreign occupation, aggression, colonialism, and hegemony, aimed at liberation and self-determination in accordance with the principles of international law shall not be considered a terrorist crime,” referring to, of course, Palestinian and Muslim terrorism targeting Israel.

A documentary film ‘Hear their Voices’, (produced by the Global Survivors Network) was screened at the launch of GCTF on September 22, 2011, featuring terrorism survivors from Jordan, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, India, Uganda, Turkey, Columbia, Spain, Northern Ireland, Indonesia and the United States.

Israeli terrorism survivors were not featured in that film.

In her opening remarks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said – referring to the screened film – that “they were victims of al-Qaida and its affiliates, of other terrorist groups like the PKK, Lashkar e-Tayyiba, the FARC, just to name a few.”

She did not mention Hamas, Hezbollah, or any other Palestinian terror organization involved in terrorism against Israel.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton then added that “From London to Lahore, from Madrid to Mumbai, from Kabul to Kampala, it’s innocent civilians who have been targeted…”

Her lists of cities victim to terrorist attacks did not include Israeli cities affected by terrorism such as Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv or Sderot.

On June 7, 2012, the second meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) opened in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with foreign ministers and senior representatives from the 30 founding countries in attendance.

Obama snubs Israel - GCTF, Istanbul
The 2nd meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) in the Turkish city of Istanbul, June 7, 2012.
Addressing the GCTF event in Istanbul, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mentioned the challenge of terrorism in Turkey, Mali, Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, the Maghreb and Europe, referred obliquely to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and commented on terrorist kidnappings in Latin America and the Sahel.

Israel was not mentioned as a country subjected to terrorism, and was still kept out of the Global Counterterrorism Forum.

After the June 7th gathering in Instanbul, with Israel still conspicuously absent from the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), U.S. Senators Joseph Lieberman and Mark Kirk petitioned Clinton over Israel’s “wrongful omission”, expressing their disappointment with Israel’s exclusion from the inaugural meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum.

In the letter, Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) told Clinton that “there are few countries in the world that have suffered more from terrorism than Israel, and few governments that have more experience combating this threat than that of Israel.”  “One of the stated missions of the GCTF is to ‘provide a needed venue for national [counterterrorism] officials and practitioners to meet with their counterparts from key countries in different regions to share [counterterrorism] experiences, expertise, strategies, capacity needs and capability-building programs.’ We strongly believe that Israel would both benefit from, and contribute enormously to, this kind of exchange,” Lieberman and Kirk wrote.

But Obama snubs Israel, again – Despite their pleas, the Obama administration is still excluding Israel from the counterterrorism forum and neglects to mention its long and deadly struggle with terrorism.

The 3rd GCTF gathering in Madrid, Spain, on July 9, 2012, was described as a “high-level conference on the victims of terrorism”.  Maria Otera, US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights gave a speech titled “Victims of Terrorism”, noting terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Jordan, Northern Ireland, Uganda, Turkey, Indonesia, India, Spain, Columbia and the United States.

Again, Israel was not mentioned.

“Last September at the official launch of the Global Counterterrorism Forum” Maria Otera added, “I had the privilege to introduce the premiere of a film ‘Hear their Voices’, which tells the stories of eleven survivors of terrorist attacks from Pakistan, Jordan, Northern Ireland, Uganda, Turkey, Indonesia, India, Spain, Columbia, and the United States,” Otero said before the gathering of nations.

Again, Israeli terrorism survivors were not included in her roll-call of terrorist victims.

The State Department denied awareness of particular opposition of Israel’s involvement in the Forum by its members, and stonewalled reporters who inquired about the issue during its daily briefing.

“This is a conference about victims of terrorism. And I’m curious to know why [Otero] doesn’t mention Israel or Israelis in her comments talking about victims of terrorism,” asked AP reporter Matthew Lee on July 9, 2012. “Does the administration believe that Israel and Israelis specifically have been victims of terrorism?

“I don’t have the details of the Under Secretary’s speech”, responded Mr. Ventrell, a State Department spokesperson, who later promised to seek further details on the matter.

A day later he was unable to provide any details.

On July 12, 2012, Lee pitched the question again:

QUESTION: So I’m led to believe that you have an answer to my question about Israel and the Global Counterterrorism Cooperation Forum or whatever it’s called?

MR. VENTRELL: I do, Matt.


MR. VENTRELL: We believe that Israel would make a valuable contribution to the Global Counterterrorism Forum. We have raised the issue of Israeli participation in relevant GCTF activities with a number of GCTF partners at very senior levels. We will continue to do so as we move forward. Our discussion with Israel concerning the GCTF – our discussions have focused on Israeli participation and relevant activities to allow Israel to share its counterterrorism expertise with CT practitioners from GCTF-member and other countries.

Still, to date, Israel has not been invited by the United States to join the Global Counterterrorism Forum.

In Reuters World – Terrorist are Merely ‘Gunmen’

Palestinian terrorists originating from Gaza, armed with heavy weapons, guns and explosives launched four attacks in quick succession in southern Israel near the border with Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Thursday (August 18, 2011), killing seven people and wounding 31 more.

The terrorists targeted a civilian bus, a military patrol and two private cars.

The first attack, at around 12 P.M., was a drive-by shooting targeting Egged bus 392 traveling from Be'er Sheva to Eilat, near the Netafim junction.

Shortly afterward, IDF forces rushed to the scene and were faced with several explosive devices that were detonated alongside an IDF vehicle.

At approximately 12:35, a mortar was fired from Egypt to Israel. No casualties were reported.
At 1:10 P.M., a terrorist cell fired an anti-tank missile at a private vehicle, wounding seven.

Minutes later, another cell fired an anti-tank missile at a private vehicle, killing six.



In Reuters accounts of the incidents, there is:

  • No mention that the perpetrators are Palestinians.
  • No mention that the perpetrators are terrorist (other than when quoting Israeli officials). Reuter calls them 'gunmen'.
  • No mention that the targeted bus was a civilian one.
  • No mention that the other targeted vehicles were private civilian passenger cars.

Reuters writes:

"(Reuters) – Several people were killed when gunmen carried out a series of attacks against vehicles in southern Israel on Thursday"

The original article was initially published under reuters.com (and quoted in Yahoo! news and other portals) under

which has since been replaced by different article (retaining the same ID and URL).