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Thursday, 24 October 2019

Egypt criticises New York Times for 'false claims' on Gaza smuggling

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said that the paper’s coverage aims to 'defame Egypt’s reputation in all possible ways'

Ahram Online , Tuesday 13 Oct 2015
Egyptian soldiers secure the area as a bulldozer demolishes part of a smuggling tunnel on the Egypti
In this Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012 photo, Egyptian soldiers secure the area as a bulldozer demolishes part of a smuggling tunnel on the Egyptian side of the Egypt Gaza border, as seen from Rafah, southern Gaza Strip (AP)
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Egypt’s Foreign Ministry criticised The New York Times for publishing an article which the ministry claims to be "distorted facts" to make readers sympathetic with Gaza’s smugglers.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abo Zeid said in an official statement that the article, published 7 October and titled "As Egypt Floods Gaza Tunnels, Smugglers Fear an End to Their Trade", aims to "misrepresent facts", therefore giving a legitimate facade for an illegitimate practice that is against domestic and international law.

The article stated that Gaza smugglers fear that their trade will be "doomed" following a strategy by Egypt to flood smuggling tunnels until they collapse. The article documents the stories of a group of smugglers and how their operations were negatively impacted after Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi was sworn into office in 2014.

Last year, Egypt’s military announced that since January 2011 it destroyed a total of 1,813 smuggling tunnels in the Sinai Peninsula. 

“Isn’t the newspaper aware that sovereign states have an international duty to protect and secure their borders against any illegitimate smuggling?” Abo Zeid said.

He added that the paper’s attempt to blame Egypt for Gaza’s economic collapse, poverty and power outages is "ridiculous," pointing out that the Strip's economic crisis is a result of Israel's siege and its disregard of its responsibilities as an occupation force that controls four crossing points with Gaza.

Abo Zeid added that Egypt "did its best" to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people by hosting a conference in 2014 under the name "Reconstructing Gaza".

"The article purposefully ignores the effect of smuggling tunnels on Egypt’s national security and the role such tunnels play in allowing terrorists into the Sinai Peninsula," he said.

"If it is possible to smuggle goods without inspection on the borders, then what stops the smuggling of weapons, people and antiquities in the same way?"

Egypt's army has been waging an offensive in North Sinai to counter a rising Islamist insurgency that has left hundreds of police and army personnel dead in the last two years.

Questioning if the paper aims to "promote lawlessness," Abo Zeid said that the paper’s coverage aims to "defame Egypt’s reputation in all possible ways".  

The New York Times has criticised the Sisi administration on a number of issues including allegations of rights abuses. Egypt, on the other hand, has charged that several western papers including the NYT have displayed bias against the Egyptian government in the aftermath of the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

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Emma
15-10-2015 06:11pm
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Maybe it is time to blame Hamas?
Maybe just maybe people should stop blaming Egypt and Israel for the tunnels and start blaming Hamas. Most of the raw material and aide that went into gaza was used to make these tunnels instead of homes. Maybe it is time to be critical of the actual people smuggling
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Simon
15-10-2015 04:26am
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NY Times is right … but scared!
The NY times, like most of the top US media outlets employs a number of excellent researches, journalists, and fact-finders; they’re usually right on most issues. On this Gaza issue they feel sorry (or guilty) for all the negative narrative they dedicated to the Palestinians over the years; they want to “appear” fair to Gaza. However they won’t dare to blame the real guilty state on the other border with Gaza for the massacres of the Gazan people, in fear of losing their jobs or funding, so they direct their fake morality to a “lesser” power like Egypt! This tiny state, no single US media outlet dares to criticize, scares the hell out of the congress too; one can’t blame the NY Times for misdirecting the blame!
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Medhat Omran
14-10-2015 04:59am
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Blind Biased
The New York times is indeed misrepresenting facts on the ground and deliberately tried to exonerate Israel from being the prime culprit not only in the Gaza blockade but the collective punishment policy towards the entire Palestinian population. The NYT as well as the WP are merely an extension /arms to the zionist lobby controlling the US. Medhat Omran. Brunei
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