Thursday, January 4, 2007

A meeting in Sinai

A Bedouin girl braiding a cotton bracelet on the beach in Sinai.

Olmert is in Sharm el Sheikh meeting Mubarak today. As the Israeli media has been mentioning, the Egyptian President's foot has never stepped on Israeli soil and it is always the Israeli Prime Minister who makes the trip to Egypt. A group of rightist Members of Knesset protested this state of affairs in a letter to Olmert. It is annoying that the leader of a neighbouring country with which we have signed a peace agreement cannot bring himself to pay a visit. At the same time, the Egyptian Pres has to handle his own public opinion and paying visits to Israel while the Palestinians are still under occupation is not smart PR move from his viewpoint.
These meetings always take place in distant Sharm el Sheikh on the tip of the Sinai peninsula, far from the seething streets of Cairo where embarrasing protests might take place.

The nasty incident in Ramallah today when an Israeli arrest attempt ended with 3 Palestinian killed and 20 injured also sullied the atmosphere in Sharm. So far it's unclear if anything practical has come out of this meeting.
But as soon as I heard the words Sharm el Sheikh I flashed back to the scores of wonderful holidays we spent along the south Sinai coast, before the Al Qaida attacks there made visits to our beloved Sinai too risky a prospect.

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