• Electronic exams fail again across Egypt on Sunday - Egypt Independent

    On Sunday morning first secondary grade exams began electronically for about 600,000 students, and was plagued by a host of technical issues.

    About 10,772 students in Damietta had problems with the exam on their tablets just minutes after the exam started.

    The examinees resorted to a hardcopy starting 9:30 am, after the electronic exam system failed.

    At 11 am the electronic systems were operational, however the Education Ministry decided to continue the examination on paper to avoid confusion.

    The situation was the same in Alexandria, as students used a hardcopy for the exam after a failure in the electronic system that continued until 9:15 am.

    In North Sinai schools, exams were conducted for 2,617 students in 29 schools affiliated to six educational departments.

    The exam was carried out using paper in 26 schools, while students at three Arish schools underwent the exam electronically.

    At south Marsa Alam, students conducted the examinations using paper following a power outage.

    Nora Fadel, Director General of the Education Department in the Red Sea, said that all first secondary grade students at the Red Sea schools performed exams electronically, except for Abou Ghosoon School in Marsa Alam, which had only eight students.

    The failure of electronic system in Beheira caused the Beheira Directorate of Education to revert to paper for the Arabic language exam, delaying exams and forcing students to leave schools to buy pens and other tools.

    #Egypte terrain d’essai pour les big brothers de l’éducation en ligne ?

  • Israel already an apartheid state says outgoing French ambassador, discussing Trump’s peace plan - Israel News -

    Gérard Araud recalls that ’once Trump told Macron [the French president], ‘I have given everything to the Israelis; the Israelis will have to give me something’’

    Outgoing French Ambassador to the United States, Gérard Araud, gave a bombastic interview to the Atlantic, published Friday, as he ends his five year tenure in Washington, D.C. Araud told Yara Bayoumy that Israel is already an apartheid state and that U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan is 99% doomed to fail.

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    Araud, who Bayoumy notes is known for “his willingness to say (and tweet) things that other ambassadors might not even think,” also offered his opinion on Trump’s foreign policy team. He said that John Bolton is a “real professional,” even though “he hates international organizations” and that Jared Kushner is “extremely smart, but he has no guts.”

    Araud recalled that “once Trump told Macron [the French president], ‘I have given everything to the Israelis; the Israelis will have to give me something.’ He is totally transactional. He is more popular than [Benjamin] Netanyahu in Israel, so the Israelis trust him.” Araud cited that exchange with Macron as evidence that Trump will ask for something tough from the Israelis in his peace proposal.

    Read the full interview in the Atlantic

    He concluded, however, that “disproportion of power is such between the two sides that the strongest may conclude that they have no interest to make concessions.” He continued by discussing Israel’s dilemna in the West Bank, noting that Israel is hesitating to make “the painful decision about the Palestinians” - to leave them “totally stateless or make them citizens of Israel.”

    He concludes, “They [Israel] won’t make them citizens of Israel. So they will have to make it official, which is we know the situation, which is an apartheid. There will be officially an apartheid state. They are in fact already.”

    Trump’s Middle East peace plan will not involve giving land from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula to the Palestinians, an American envoy said on Friday.
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    Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s Middle East envoy, apparently sought to deny reports on social media that the long-awaited plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would involve extending Gaza into the northern Sinai along Egypt’s Mediterranean coast.

    “Hearing reports our plan includes the concept that we will give a portion of Sinai (which is Egypt’s) to Gaza. False!”, Greenblatt, one of the architects of the proposal, tweeted on Friday.

    The American plan is expected to be unveiled once Israel’s newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forms a government coalition and after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends in June.

    Trump’s senior advisor Jared Kushner said on Wednesday the plan would require compromise by all parties, a source familiar with his remarks said.

    It is unclear whether the plan will propose outright the creation of a Palestinian state, the Palestinians’ core demand.

    Reuters contributed to this report

  • Pushing for an Israeli victory is the only way to end the conflict with the Palestinians

    Il faut lire ce point de vue d’un néoconservateur américain car il reflète une partie de la pensée de la droite pro-israélienne

    Lieberman and Bennett failed to impose a new paradigm on how to deal with Hamas, but more and more people in Israel are recognizing that compromises and concessions have only led to more violence

    Daniel Pipes SendSend me email alerts
    Dec 02, 2018 4:04 PM

    From a practical political point of view, Avigdor Lieberman, Naftali Bennett, and their idea to take a tougher stand toward Hamas just went down to defeat, if not humiliation. 
    That’s because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again showed his political skills; the first is now ex-defense minister, the second failed to become defense minister.
    >> ‘Get used to the rockets’: What Netanyahu should tell Israelis living near Gaza | Opinion
    From a longer-term point of view, however, the duo raised an issue that for decades had not been part of the Israeli political discourse but, due to their efforts, promises to be an important factor in the future: that would be the concept of victory, of an Israeli victory over Hamas and, by extension, over the Palestinian Authority and Palestinians in general.
    Victory – defined as imposing one’s will on the enemy so he gives up his war goals - has been the war goal of philosophers, strategists, and generals through human history. Aristotle wrote that “Victory is the end of generalship.” Karl von Clausewitz, the Prussian theorist, concurred: “The aim of war should be the defeat of the enemy.” Gen. James Mattis, the U.S. secretary of defense, finds that “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over.” 
    Palestinians routinely speak of achieving victory over Israel, even when this is fantastical: to cite one example, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas called his Hamas counterpart, Ismail Haniyeh, after eight days of violence with Israel that left Gaza badly battered in November 2012 to “congratulate him on the victory and extend condolences to the families of martyrs.”

    Contrarily, in Israel, the notion of victory has been sidelined since at least the Oslo Accords of 1993, after which its leaders instead focused on such concepts as compromise, conciliation, confidence-building, flexibility, goodwill, mediation, and restraint. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert immemorially articulated this attitude in 2007 when he stated that "Peace is achieved through concessions.”
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    >> Israel is incomparably stronger than Hamas – but it will never win: Interview with Hamas leader in Gaza
    his perverse understanding of how wars end led Israel to make extraordinary blunders in the 15 years after Oslo, for which it was punished by unremitting campaigns of delegitimization and violence, symbolized, respectively, by the Durban conference of 2001 and the Passover Massacre of 2002. 
    Such nonsense ended during Netanyahu’s near-decade-long term as prime minister, but it has not yet been replaced by a sturdy vision of victory. Rather, Netanyahu has put out brush fires as they arose in Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, Syria, and Lebanon. While agreeing with the concept of an Israeli victory when personally briefed, he has not spoken publicly about it.
    Meanwhile, other leading figures in Israel have adopted this outlook. Former deputy chief of staff Uzi Dayan called on the army “to return the path of victory.” Former education and interior minister Gideon Sa’ar has stated that “The ‘victory paradigm,’ like Jabotinsky’s ‘Iron Wall’ concept, assumes that an agreement may be possible in the future, but only after a clear and decisive Israeli victory ... The transition to the ‘victory paradigm’ is contingent upon abandoning the Oslo concept.”
    In this context, the statements by Lieberman and Bennett point to a change in thinking. Lieberman quit his position as defense minister out of frustration that a barrage by Hamas of 460 rockets and missiles against Israel was met with a ceasefire; he called instead for “a state of despair” to be imposed on the enemies of Israel. Complaining that “Israel stopped winning,” Bennett demanded that the IDF “start winning again,” and added that “When Israel wants to win, we can win.” On rescinding his demand for the defense portfolio, Bennett emphasized that he stands by Netanyahu “in the monumental task of ensuring that Israel is victorious again.”
    >> Netanyahu’s vision for the Middle East has come true | Analysis
    Opponents of this paradigm then amusingly testified to the power of this idea of victory. Ma’ariv columnist Revital Amiran wrote that the victory the Israeli public most wants lies in such arenas as larger allocations for the elderly and unbearable traffic jams. Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg, replied to Bennett that for her, a victorious Israel means winning Emmy and Oscar nominations, guaranteeing equal health services, and spending more on education.
    That victory and defeat have newly become a topic for debate in Israel constitutes a major development. Thus does the push for an Israeli victory move forward.
    Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum think tank, which promotes Israel Victory, a project to steer U.S. policy toward backing an Israeli victory to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians. Follow him on Twitter @DanielPipes

  • « Fuir l’enfer pour vivre dans un enfer » : quitter Gaza via le poste frontalier de Rafah
    Entre pots-de-vin et postes de contrôle, quitter la bande assiégée est un processus coûteux, ardu et extrêmement difficile pour les Palestiniens
    Middle East Eye - Kaamil Ahmed - 21 novembre 2018

    (...) Pour quitter la bande de Gaza, ses habitants palestiniens passent presque une journée à Rafah avant que des bus ne les transportent à travers le désert du Sinaï, pour ensuite traverser le canal de Suez en ferry et se diriger vers des hôpitaux en Égypte ou plus loin, jusqu’au Caire, pour accéder à des soins de santé, à l’enseignement ou à l’emploi.

    En réalité, ce processus n’est pas aussi fluide ; il connaît des à-coups et dans tous les cas, très peu de gens se retrouvent ne serait-ce que proches d’effectuer le voyage, de nombreuses tentatives étant frustrées dès les premières étapes par la frontière généralement fermée et les listes d’attente trop longues.

    Pour éviter ces listes, il faut payer quelqu’un, généralement du côté égyptien. Ces pots-de-vin sont devenus de plus en plus courants au cours des six derniers mois, lors desquels la frontière a été ouverte pendant des périodes sans précédent depuis plusieurs années, ce qui a encouragé les Palestiniens à quitter Gaza et ceux qui espéraient rentrer à franchir la frontière.

    « Les personnes qui veulent quitter Gaza, elles fuient l’enfer pour vivre dans un enfer dans le désert du Sinaï », explique Ibrahim Ghunaim, un rappeur palestinien qui a quitté l’enclave sous blocus pour se consacrer à son travail, freiné à Gaza par l’impossibilité de voyager pour se produire.

    Pour traverser le désert, il lui a fallu passer quatre jours à attendre de pouvoir franchir des postes de contrôle sur les terres arides et militarisées du Sinaï.

    « C’est comme traverser le territoire d’un ennemi. » (...)


  • Mémoires de la guerre de 1956 à Suez

    Beyond the din of the battle: Stories from the struggle for Port Said | MadaMasr

    At midnight on November 4, 1956, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Abdellatif al-Bughdadi snuck out of the Revolutionary Council premises in Zamalek, where they had been camped for days, and took the road to Port Said.

    Egypt had been under attack by Israeli forces since October 29, and was bombarded by French and British forces on October 31, after rejecting a British ultimatum to withdraw from the canal area. Nasser, Bughdadi and the rest of the Revolutionary Council gathered in Zamalek in an attempt to hold the fort. Their days and nights were rife with panic, anxiety and arguments as to whether they should surrender, given the dreary outlook for both them and the country.

    On November 4, Nasser decided to break the paralysis and head to Port Said to assess the damage and entice a stranded military to send back-up forces from Sinai to Port Said. Bughdadi insisted on joining him.

    The road to Ismailia was littered with scenes of defeat: tanks and military vehicles were stranded, set on fire, burned, or simply abandoned. Bughdadi recounts in his memoirs how a shocked Nasser kept asking him why he thought every vehicle looked the way it did. As they drove into the night through the disaster in silence, he recounts how Nasser kept murmuring to himself in English, “I was defeated by my army…”

  • Preventing Palestine: A Must Read History of Failed Peace-Making – LobeLog

    The result, as Anziska notes was that at Camp David Sadat got the Sinai and Begin got the West Bank. And with Israel’s southern border secured, Begin was free to attempt to “wipe out” the PLO in Lebanon.

  • Aux États-Unis, les opioïdes tuent plus que les armes à feu

    INFOGRAPHIE - Près de 64.000 personnes ont fait une overdose en 2016 après avoir consommé des doses excessives de ces médicaments, obtenus pour la majorité sur prescription.

    Les overdoses par opioïdes font plus de victimes que les accidents de la route ou les armes à feu aux États-Unis. En 2016, près de 64. 000 personnes ont perdu la vie après avoir consommé des doses excessives d’opioïdes obtenus pour la majorité sur prescription, soit 175 morts par jour. « Aucune région des États-Unis n’est épargnée par cette épidémie. Nous avons tous un proche, un membre de la famille, un être aimé détruit par les opioïdes », s’est émue Anne Schuchat, directrice des Centres de prévention et de contrôle des maladies (CDC), en mars dernier en annonçant ce nouveau bilan dramatique en constante augmentation.

    Car la situation ne fait qu’empirer d’année en année. Depuis 1999, les prescriptions d’opioïdes forts (morphine, mais surtout oxycodone), les hospitalisations et les décès par overdose, ont été multipliés par quatre. Près de 11 millions de personnes souffriraient de dépendances à ces molécules. « Une urgence de santé publique », avait martelé Donald Trump fin 2017. Quelques mois plus tard, un plan était présenté pour lutter contre ce fléau. Centré sur la répression des dealers pour mettre un terme à la vente de Fentanyl fabriqué illégalement, ce plan promeut aussi l’accès à l’antidote aux opioïdes : la naloxone.

    En spray nasal ou sous forme de stylo injecteur, ce médicament permet de sauver les personnes en arrêt respiratoire. Une quarantaine d’États autorisent sa délivrance sans ordonnance, et certains ont équipé leurs forces de police. Tous les services d’urgence en sont également dotés. Et des nouvelles données du CDC montrent qu’ils n’hésitent pas à l’utiliser : entre 2012 et 2016, l’administration de naloxone aux urgences a augmenté de 75 %. En France, ce traitement est disponible à l’hôpital et dans les centres de soins, d’accompagnement et de prévention en addictologie (CSAPA). Il devrait prochainement être disponible en pharmacie. « Quand il le sera, je pense qu’il sera pertinent de prescrire un kit aux patients sous opioïdes, comme cela est recommandé aux États-Unis. Cela permet de sensibiliser les patients et de les responsabiliser face à leur traitement potentiellement dangereux », commente le Pr Nicolas Authier, chef du service de pharmacologie médicale au CHU de Clermont-Ferrand.
    Des nourrissons en manque

    Mais l’overdose n’est pas la seule conséquence dramatique de cette crise des opioïdes. Les CDC rapportent que le nombre de femmes enceintes dépendantes à ces morphiniques explose. Elles seraient quatre fois plus nombreuses en 2014 qu’en 1999, d’après une étude réalisée à partir des données de toutes les maternités du pays. En conséquence, les cas de nourrissons atteints de syndrome d’abstinence se multiplient. Il existe pourtant des moyens thérapeutiques pour aider ces femmes à se sevrer et réduire les risques pour leurs bébés à naître. Il est notamment possible de mettre en place un traitement de substitution aux opioïdes avec de la méthadone ou de la buprénorphine. D’action lente, il permet d’espacer les doses, d’éviter les périodes de sevrage et l’envie irrépressible de la substance.

    Désormais au pied du mur, les États-Unis tentent de faire volte-face. « L’éducation des médecins et du grand public est un élément clé », assure Yasmin Hurd, directrice de l’Institut des addictions de l’hôpital Mount Sinai à New York. Elle semble d’autant plus indispensable que le durcissement des conditions de prescription ne semble avoir aucun effet sur les médecins américains. Pour sensibiliser les médecins aux risques des opioïdes, le Dr Jason Doctor, spécialiste de santé publique à l’université de Californie du Sud, a eu une idée simple : avertir par courrier les médecins lorsque l’un de leurs patients décède d’une overdose. Et il montre dans la revueScience que cela fonctionne. En moins de trois mois, les médecins ayant appris la mort de leur malade ont réduit de 10 % les doses d’opioïdes prescrites, et ont même rédigé moins d’ordonnances que les médecins laissés dans l’ignorance.

  • As U.S. pushes for Mideast peace, Saudi king reassures allies |

    RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has reassured Arab allies it will not endorse any Middle East peace plan that fails to address Jerusalem’s status or refugees’ right of return, easing their concerns that the kingdom might back a nascent U.S. deal which aligns with Israel on key issues.

    King Salman’s private guarantees to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his public defense of long-standing Arab positions in recent months have helped reverse perceptions that Saudi Arabia’s stance was changing under his powerful young son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, diplomats and analysts said.

    This in turn has called into question whether Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Islam and site of its holiest shrines, can rally Arab support for a new push to end the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, with an eye to closing ranks against mutual enemy Iran.

    “In Saudi Arabia, the king is the one who decides on this issue now, not the crown prince,” said a senior Arab diplomat in Riyadh. “The U.S. mistake was they thought one country could pressure the rest to give in, but it’s not about pressure. No Arab leader can concede on Jerusalem or Palestine.”


    Palestinian officials told Reuters in December that Prince Mohammed, known as MbS, had pressed Abbas to support the U.S. plan despite concerns it offered the Palestinians limited self-government inside disconnected patches of the occupied West Bank, with no right of return for refugees displaced by the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948 and 1967.

    Such a plan would diverge from the Arab Peace Initiative drawn up by Saudi Arabia in 2002 in which Arab nations offered Israel normal ties in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in 1967.

    Saudi officials have denied any difference between King Salman, who has vocally supported that initiative, and MbS, who has shaken up long-held policies on many issues and told a U.S. magazine in April that Israelis are entitled to live peacefully on their own land - a rare statement for an Arab leader.

    The Palestinian ambassador to Riyadh, Basem Al-Agha, told Reuters that King Salman had expressed support for Palestinians in a recent meeting with Abbas, saying: “We will not abandon you ... We accept what you accept and we reject what you reject.”

    He said that King Salman naming the 2018 Arab League conference “The Jerusalem Summit” and announcing $200 million in aid for Palestinians were messages that Jerusalem and refugees were back on the table.

    FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud attends Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
    The Saudi authorities did not respond to a request for comment on the current status of diplomatic efforts.


    Diplomats in the region say Washington’s current thinking, conveyed during a tour last month by top White House officials, does not include Arab East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, a right of return for refugees or a freeze of Israeli settlements in lands claimed by the Palestinians.

    Senior adviser Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has not provided concrete details of the U.S. strategy more than 18 months after he was tasked with forging peace.

    A diplomat in Riyadh briefed on Kushner’s latest visit to the kingdom said King Salman and MbS had seen him together: “MbS did the talking while the king was in the background.”

    Independent analyst Neil Partrick said King Salman appears to have reined in MbS’ “politically reckless approach” because of Jerusalem’s importance to Muslims.

    “So MbS won’t oppose Kushner’s ‘deal’, but neither will he, any longer, do much to encourage its one-sided political simplicities,” said Partrick, lead contributor and editor of “Saudi Arabian Foreign Policy: Conflict and Cooperation”.

     Kushner and fellow negotiator Jason Greenblatt have not presented a comprehensive proposal but rather disjointed elements, which one diplomat said “crossed too many red lines”.

    Instead, they heavily focused on the idea of setting up an economic zone in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula with the adjacent Gaza Strip possibly coming under the control of Cairo, which Arab diplomats described as unacceptable.

    In Qatar, Kushner asked Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to pressure the Islamist group Hamas to cede control of Gaza in return for development aid, the diplomats said.

    One diplomat briefed on the meeting said Sheikh Tamim just nodded silently. It was unclear if that signaled an agreement or whether Qatar was offered anything in return.

    “The problem is there is no cohesive plan presented to all countries,” said the senior Arab diplomat in Riyadh. “Nobody sees what everyone else is being offered.”

    Kushner, a 37-year-old real estate developer with little experience of international diplomacy or political negotiation, visited Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Israel in June. He did not meet Abbas, who has refused to see Trump’s team after the U.S. embassy was moved to Jerusalem.

    In an interview at the end of his trip, Kushner said Washington would announce its Middle East peace plan soon, and press on with or without Abbas. Yet there has been little to suggest any significant progress towards ending the decades-old conflict, which Trump has said would be “the ultimate deal”.

    “There is no new push. Nothing Kushner presented is acceptable to any of the Arab countries,” the Arab diplomat said. “He thinks he is ‘I Dream of Genie’ with a magic wand to make a new solution to the problem.”

    A White House official told reporters last week that Trump’s envoys were working on the most detailed set of proposals to date for the long-awaited peace proposal, which would include what the administration is calling a robust economic plan, though there is thus far no release date.

    Editing by Giles Elgood
    Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

    • In Saudi Arabia, the king is the one who decides on this issue now, not the crown prince,
      A diplomat in Riyadh briefed on Kushner’s latest visit [in June] to the kingdom said King Salman and MbS had seen him together: “MbS did the talking while the king was in the background.

      Euh, question bête : c’est dans la même aile de l’hôpital la gériatrie de king S et la rééducation (il est probablement sorti des soins intensifs, depuis le temps) de Kronprinz bS ?

      Ce serait quand même plus commode pour Mr Son in law

  • A Strip apart? Gaza grapples with politics of expanded Egyptian administration in Trump’s ‘century deal’ | MadaMasr

    An economic delegation from the Gaza Strip arrived in Cairo on Tuesday night to discuss the United States’ proposal concerning the humanitarian and economic state of the besieged Palestinian territory, as Washington continues to push talks concerning the “deal of the century.”

    Deputy Finance Minister Youssef al-Kayali headed up the Gaza delegation, which, according to a Palestinian political source who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity, was in Cairo “to listen to what the Egyptian side proposes without a preconceived position and without violating known Palestinian principles.”

    To this point, indications of Gaza’s appetite for the deal have been absent from the unfolding diplomatic discussions. The US diplomatic envoy headed by Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, and Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East, was primarily focused on informing regional leaders of the defining features of Trump’s initiative to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but, notably, did not meet with Palestinian actors during last week’s regional tour, which included stops in Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

    The framework of the US’s “century deal” involves the construction of a joint port on the Mediterranean between the Egyptian and Palestinian cities of Rafah, according to US and European diplomatic sources that spoke to Mada Masr ahead of the US delegation’s visit last week. The joint port would act as a prelude to extensive economic activity, for which North Sinai would serve as a hub, and would include five principal projects that would be funded by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with a labor force that would be two-thirds Palestinian from the Gaza Strip and one-third Egyptian.

  • Inside Israel’s Last Mental Health Clinic For Refugees

    The #Gesher_Clinic in #Jaffa is down to opening nine hours a week despite the overwhelming need for mental healthcare. Its patients, many of whom survived Sinai torture camps, face an uncertain future.
    #santé_mentale #soins #accès_aux_soins #réfugiés #asile #migrations #Israël #clinique #hôpital #santé #torture #désert_du_Sinaï #Sinaï

  • Arab Leaders Asked U.S. Not to Reveal Mideast Peace Plan, Palestinians Say

    [...] the Arab officials told the Palestinian leadership, any plan which does not meet Palestinian expectations could just increase tensions in the Mideast.

    “Egypt isn’t short on internal issues, along with fighting terror in Sinai; Jordan is dealing with many difficulties on the home front and repercussions from the Syrian war don’t simplify things and the Saudis with the challenges in Yemen and the struggle against Iran,” a Palestinian official told Haaretz. “If the (Trump) administration present a plan without Jerusalem and without the refugees it will be an earthquake whose repercussion will undermine stability in the entire region and not one is ready for that.” 

    According to the Palestinian official, this explains the focus by the involved parties on the Gaza Strip, said the official, and the attempt to promote projects aimed at improving humanitarian conditions, which would prevent a collapse without presenting a plan without any diplomatic prospects.


  • Most Maps of the New Ebola Outbreak Are Wrong - The Atlantic

    Almost all the maps of the outbreak zone that have thus far been released contain mistakes of this kind. Different health organizations all seem to use their own maps, most of which contain significant discrepancies. Things are roughly in the right place, but their exact positions can be off by miles, as can the boundaries between different regions.

    Sinai, a cartographer at UCLA, has been working with the Ministry of Health to improve the accuracy of the Congo’s maps, and flew over on Saturday at their request. For each health zone within the outbreak region, Sinai compiled a list of the constituent villages, plotted them using the most up-to-date sources of geographical data, and drew boundaries that include these places and no others. The maps at the top of this piece show the before (left) and after (right) images.

    #cartographie #santé #RDC #erreur #ebola

  • Egypt : Army blocks all access to Sinai, schools close indefinitely and residents brace for military operation | MadaMasr

    On the eve of the first day of the Armed Forces’ new major counter-terrorism operation in Sinai, authorities have restricted access to and movement within North Sinai, while residents of the peninsula’s main cities steel themselves for the new military campaign.

    According to residents, authorities prohibited entry to and exit from Sinai starting Thursday night by preventing traffic coming through the Suez Canal and the Ahmed Hamdi tunnel. On Friday morning, authorities also blocked the main road linking North Sinai’s cities to one another, and cut off passage to and from the cities of Arish, Sheikh Zuwayed and Rafah.

    Despite a sense of anxiety following the Armed Forces’ statement on Friday — in which the military announced the launch of a major operation aiming to “end terrorism” in the peninsula — the day progressed quietly in Rafah, Arish and Sheikh Zuwayed, save for sounds of explosions coming from desert areas south of each city and military aircraft flying over them during the early hours of Friday.

    The military spokesperson had stated on Friday that the operation started with the bombing of militant ammunition storehouses in north and central Sinai.

    Residents said that the shelling targeted locations close to Egypt’s border with Palestine. A local on the Palestinian side of the border city of Rafah told Mada Masr that the explosions could be heard clearly in the city and residents saw smoke close to the borders from 7 am to 8 am.

  • Armed Forces orders emergency medical measures in Sinai as military presence intensifies | MadaMasr

    The Armed Forces requested the urgent deployment of medical reinforcements to the Sinai Peninsula and Ismailia as hospitals implement emergency measures, following an increase in military presence in the area sources told Mada Masr on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    A high-ranking military official asked that the Health Ministry prioritize surgeons and anesthetists and send them to the region within two days during a recent meeting, according to a source from the ministry.

    A large number of doctors were recently assigned to compulsory postings across Sinai, the source said, adding that the ministry told them: “Something is going to happen in the area in the next few days.” The doctors come from several governorates, including Cairo, Giza and Gharbiya, and were told their postings will last between one and three months.

    The posting of additional medical personnel and requests for further reinforcements come on the heels of emergency measures and the cancellation of staff leave, which were recently announced in Ismailia and Sinai hospitals, another medical source based in North Sinai told Mada Masr. 

    The announcement was concurrent with an “unusual increase” in the number of military vehicles in North Sinai, the same source added.

    The North Sinai Security Directorate has similarly recalled all staff members from vacation, according to a security source who works in the directorate. The directorate employee told Mada Masr late on Wednesday night that this was to ensure that it is operating at its full capacity within the space of several hours.

    In January, sources told Mada Masr that additional Armed Forces equipment and reinforcements had arrived in Hassana, the closest central Sinai city to Arish, in preparation for an “unprecedented” military operation.

  • Les villages #mizrahi détruits par l’establishment israélien - [UJFP]

    Il est bien connu que depuis les premiers temps de l’immigration sioniste en Palestine, la bourgeoisie israélienne et ses diverses branches ont détruit des centaines de villages et de villes palestiniens et syriens, qui ont été jugés ennemis de l’État. Sur la nouvelle carte de la « destruction coloniale » publiée par De-Colonizer, un centre de recherche alternatif sur Palestine/Israël, figurent les villages mizrahi – dont la moitié environ étaient yéménites – détruits par les autorités sionistes avant la fondation d’Israël et par l’État d’Israël après 1948.

    Le terme « destru(A)ction » renvoie à des communautés chassées contre leur volonté – souvent par la violence physique, et toujours avec l’aide de la violence légale et économique. D’autres villes et quartiers, tels les quartiers Mahlul et Nordia de Tel Aviv ou la cité de transit Neve Amal d’Herzliya ont aussi été détruits, quoique leurs habitants aient finalement reçu des indemnités.

    D’un autre côté, il y a eu des villages israéliens démolis contre la volonté des habitants – dans la péninsule du Sinaï par exemple – même si ces démolitions allaient à l’encontre de l’expansion coloniale d’Israël, étant donné qu’elles se produisaient dans le contexte d’un traité de paix avec l’Égypte et, de ce fait ne figurent pas sur la carte. La destruction de ces villages peut être considérée comme une forme de décolonisation.

    La destruction de ces villages juifs ne devrait pas nous étonner, en particulier si l’on considère la façon dont la bourgeoisie sioniste a toujours considéré et traité ceux de l’Est, qu’ils fussent juifs, musulmans ou chrétiens – tous Arabes.

    #israël #palestine #destruction #démolition #occupation #colonisation #expulsion

  • Egyptian Chronicles: Al-Rawda Mosque Carnage : Two weeks later

    Al-Rawda Mosque Carnage : Two weeks later
    Last Friday, head of Al-Azhar Sheikh Mohamed El-Tayeb led Friday prayers at North Sinai’s El-Rawda Mosque just one week after the horrifying massacre it witnessed where not less than 311 people were killed according to official statements in Egypt’s worst terrorist attack.

    The week before President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi renewed his orders to the Egyptian armed forces and police force during the official celebration of Prophet Mohamed “PBUH” to use “brute force” or “utmost force” to restore order within three months in the Egyptian Northern East governorate.

    The Egyptian Mainstream Media passed over that horrifying massacre as you know life goes on and we should not ask too many questions as terrorism is having its last days in North Sinai.

    I had too many questions and I could not find them in the mainstream media as usual.
    I can not travel to North Sinai except if I have security permits and unfortunately I could not travel to Ismailia to meet with the injured either as I have been battling flu. Yet, thank God for telephones despite it is not perfect.

    In the past week, I managed to speak with locals from both Bir Al-Abd city as well Al-Rawda village through telephone calls.
    Their answers and information did not only reveal something I did not know then about the worst massacre in the history of Egypt but also about the situation in general in North Sinai governorate after nearly four years of war against terrorism.
    The Black Friday
    On Friday 24 November, the People of Bir Al-Abd began to feel that there was something wrong with that 35 km away small village as news came that militants cut the International highway between their city and Al-Rawda.
    The news came that afternoon about how there was a bombing inside the village’s mosque during Friday prayers and the injured were transferred to the Bir Al-Abd hospital as there is no medical facility in there.

  • La destruction calme de la Palestine par le sionisme | Agence Media Palestine
    Par Ali Abunimah – The Electronic Intifada – 16 novembre 2017 – Traduction : JPP pour l’Agence Média Palestine

    Deux reportages publiés par Haaretz mercredi soulignent l’objectif immuable du sionisme : la destruction des Palestiniens en tant que peuple et communautés viables, et le vol de leur terre au profit exclusif des colonies de peuplement juives.

    Le premier reportage fait état de procès-verbaux déclassifiés de réunions au cabinet du Premier ministre dans les mois qui ont suivi la guerre de 1967, quand Israël a occupé la Cisjordanie et la bande de Gaza, ainsi que le plateau du Golan syrien et la péninsule égyptienne du Sinaï.

    Les dirigeants israéliens se sont demandé comment traiter la question de ces centaines de milliers de Palestiniens qui se retrouvaient sous leur occupation militaire. Il est clair que, déjà, les Israéliens voulaient la terre, mais pas les gens qui vivaient dessus.

    L’une des « solutions » préconisée par Levi Eshkol, Premier ministre d’Israël à l’époque, a été, en réalité, de les expulser.

    Priver d’eau les Palestiniens

    Selon ces procès-verbaux, Eshkol a déclaré aux ministres qu’il « travaillait à la création d’une unité ou d’un bureau qui se livrera à l’encouragement de l’émigration arabe ». Et il a ajouté, « Nous devons traiter cette question sans bruit, calmement et secrètement, et nous devons travailler à trouver un moyen (pour eux) d’émigrer vers d’autres pays et pas seulement au-delà du Jourdain ».

    Et dans une prémonition du siège israélien brutal d’aujourd’hui, Eshkol a indiqué que « précisément en raison de la suffocation et de l’emprisonnement qui existent là-bas, peut-être que les Arabes quitteront la bande de Gaza ».

    Mais il n’allait pas nécessairement laisser faire le hasard. Et le Premier ministre de proposer : « Peut-être que si nous ne leur donnons pas suffisamment d’eau ils n’auront pas d’autre choix, parce que les vergers vont jaunir et flétrir ».

    Il a suggéré également que « peut-être, pouvons-nous nous attendre à une autre guerre et qu’alors ce problème sera réglé ». Il devait penser à la Nakba de 1948, quand les milices sionistes ont nettoyé ethniquement 750 000 Palestiniens de leurs foyers pendant la prétendue « guerre d’indépendance » d’Israël.

    Eshkol était catégorique : « Ce qui nous intéresse, c’est de vider Gaza, d’abord ».

    Il n’y a eu apparemment aucun désaccord.

  • Israeli prime minister after Six-Day War: ’We’ll deprive Gaza of water, and the Arabs will leave’
    Declassified minutes of inner cabinet sessions in the months after the Six-Day War show government ministers who were at a loss to deal with its implications
    Ofer Aderet Nov 16, 2017 8:24 AM

    “Empty” the Gaza Strip, “thin out” the Galilee, rewrite textbooks and censor political cartoons in Haaretz: These are among the proposals discussed by cabinet ministers after the Six-Day War that will be available to the public in a major release of declassified government documents by the Israel State Archives on Thursday.

    The material being posted on the state archives’ website includes hundreds of pages of minutes from meetings of the inner cabinet between August and December 1967. From reading them, it is clear that in the several months that followed the June 1967 war, members of the security cabinet were perplexed, confused and sometimes helpless in the face of the new challenges to the state. Israel conquered East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula in under a week. It was not even remotely prepared for this scenario, and had to hit the ground running.

    In December 1967, six months after the war, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol speculated over how to deal with the hundreds of thousands of Arabs newly under the state’s control. “At some point we will have to decide. There are 600,000 Arabs in these territories now. What will be the status of these 600,000 Arabs?” he asked.

    Eshkol evidently felt no urgency in regard to the matter. “I suggest that we don’t come to a vote or a decision today; there’s time to deal with this joy, or better put, there’s time to deal with this trouble,” he said. “But for the record I’m prepared to say this: There’s no reason for the government to determine its position on the future of the West Bank right now. We’ve been through three wars in 20 years; we can go another 20 years without a decision.”

    He got backing from Transportation Minister Moshe Carmel, who said, “If we sit 20 years, the world will get used to our being in those territories, in any case no less than they got used to [Jordan’s King] Hussein being there. We have more rights; we are more identified with these territories than he is.”

    But an examination of other documents shows that Eshkol was well aware that Israel couldn’t ignore the problems posed by the occupation for long, particularly its rule over hundreds of thousands of Arabs. In one discussion he compared the Israel to “a giraffe’s neck,” because it was so narrow. “The strip of this country is like a miserable, threatening neck for us, literally stretched out for slaughter,” he said. “I cannot imagine it — how we will organize life in this country when we have 1.4 million Arabs and we are 2.4 million, with 400,000 Arabs already in the country?”

    One of the “solutions” to the new situation, according to Eshkol, was to encourage Arabs to emigrate. In this context Eshkol told the ministers that he was “working on the establishment of a unit or office that will engage in encouraging Arab emigration.” He added, “We should deal with this issue quietly, calmly and covertly, and we should work on finding a way from them to emigrate to other countries and not just over the Jordan [River].”

    Eshkol expressed the hope that, “precisely because of the suffocation and imprisonment there, maybe the Arabs will move from the Gaza Strip,” adding that there were ways to remove those who remained. “Perhaps if we don’t give them enough water they won’t have a choice, because the orchards will yellow and wither,” he said in this context. Another “solution,” he said, could be another war. “Perhaps we can expect another war and then this problem will be solved. But that’s a type of ‘luxury,’ an unexpected solution.”

    “We are interested in emptying out Gaza first,” Eshkol summed up. To which Labor Minister Yigal Allon suggested “thinning the Galilee of Arabs,” while Religious Affairs Minister Zerah Warhaftig said, “We must increase [the number of] Jews and take all possible measures to reduce the number of Arabs.”

    One idea raised by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan was to give the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza permits to work abroad, in the hope that some would prefer to stay there. “By allowing these Arabs to seek and find work in foreign countries, there’s a greater chance that they’ll want to migrate to those countries later,” Dayan said.

    As for Gaza, Dayan was pretty optimistic. According to his calculations, of the 400,000 people who then lived in Gaza, only 100,000 would remain. The rest, whom he termed refugees, “must be removed from there under any arrangement that’s made.” Among his ideas was to resettle the Gazans in eastern Jordan.

    Nor was Dayan particularly worried about Israeli military rule in the West Bank. “No soldier will have any interest in interfering in the lives of the inhabitants. I have no interest in the army sitting precisely in Nablus. It can sit on a hill outside Nablus.”

    Justice Minister Yaakov Shimshon Shapira took the opposite position, calling for Israel to withdraw from the territories and warning that Israel couldn’t exist as a Jewish state if it retained them. “We won’t be able to maintain the army, when there will such a large percentage of residents who [won’t serve] in the army. There won’t be a[n army] command without Arabs and certainly there won’t be a government or a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee without Arabs when they’re 40 percent,” he said.

    Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir said that remaining in the territories would be “a disaster for the State of Israel,” which would become an Arab state. He warned that there was nothing to stop the West Bank from suddenly declaring independence, and that it was only a matter of time.

    Education Minister Zalman Aranne felt similarly. “I do not for one minute accept the idea that the world outside will look at the fact that we’re taking everything for ourselves and will say, ‘Bon Appetit,’” he said. “After all in another year or half a year the world will wake up; there’s a world out there and it will ask questions.”

    Aranne objected to the argument, put forth by Dayan and others, that Israel must retain the territories for security reasons. “Suddenly, after all these victories, there’s no survival without these territories? Without all those things we never dreamed of before the six days of this war, like Jerusalem?” he asked.

    Arab rights didn’t seem to be much of a concern for Aranne; he was more worried about the future of the Jewish state.

    “The way I know the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora, after all the heroism, miracles and wonders, a Jewish state in which there are 40 percent Arabs, is not a Jewish state. It is a fifth column that will destroy the Jewish state. It will be the kiss of death after a generation or a generation and a half,” he warned. “I see the two million Jews before me differently when there will be 1.3 million Arabs — 1.3 million Arabs, with their high birth rate and their permanent pent-up hatred. ... We can overcome 60,000 Arabs, but not 600,000 and not a million,” Aranne concluded.

    Within the inconclusive discussions of the future of the territories are the seeds of talk of establishing settlements, outposts and army bases. The minutes show that even half a year after the war, the government had not formulated an orderly policy on this issue, but discussed various ideas even as it chose to delay making these tough decisions as well.

    Thus it was, for example, in the case of Hebron, when there were requests to renew the Jewish presence in the city. Eshkol showed the ministers a letter he received in November 1967 from associates of the dean of Hebron Yeshiva — which relocated to Jerusalem after the 1929 Hebron Massacre — asking the government to “make appropriate arrangements to let dozens of the yeshiva’s students, teachers and supervisors return and set up a branch in Hebron.”

    Allon was all for it. “There is a benefit in finding the first nucleus of people willing to settle there. The desire of these yeshiva students is a great thing. There aren’t always candidates willing to go to such a difficult place.” No decision on the matter was made at that time, however.

    There were also cabinet members who spoke of preparing for the next war. The minutes included pessimistic reports about the number of warplanes left to Israel after the war. It was argued that the Arab states had already acquired new planes and had more than Israel.

    Ezer Weizman, deputy chief of staff at the time, detailed the difficulty of trying to extract promises of military aid from Washington. “Is there no hope of getting planes from any other country?” asked Interior Minister Haim-Moshe Shapira. Weizman replied, “We checked in Sweden. Sweden isn’t prepared to talk about this. England has nothing to buy. I don’t think Australia will give us anything.”

    Belgium was mentioned as a possibility: It was claimed that Brussels had offered to help Jerusalem circumvent the French embargo by procuring French planes and even German tanks for Israel.

    Dayan warned, “The impression, as of now, is that not only are the Arabs not rushing to make peace, they are slowly starting to think again about war.” It was six years before the Yom Kippur War.

  • New Technology Reveals Ancient Language Not Seen Since The Dark Ages | IFLScience

    Work carried out by researchers at the Early Manuscripts Electronic Library (EMEL) in California have used modern technology to uncover previously unknown works in Caucasian Albanian, a language known from very few sources, as well as ancient medical texts by the Greek physician Hippocrates. The texts were found in the 1,500-year-old Saint Catherine’s monastery, and at some point during its long history were covered over by newer writings.
    The incredible trove of manuscripts held in the Saint Catherine’s monastery on the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, is perhaps only rivaled by that of the Vatican. Founded on the site Moses reportedly saw the burning bush in 548 CE, it is thought to be one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world, as well as the oldest continually operating library.

    #monastère_Sainte_Catherine Sinaï
    #langue_caucasienne (encore une !)

    • The Invisible Poems in St. Catherine’s Monastery, on the Sinai Peninsula - The Atlantic

      To reveal the erased words on the palimpsests, the researchers photograph each page 12 times while it is illuminated with different-colored visible light, ultraviolet light, and infrared light. Other images are taken with light shining from behind the page or off to one side at an oblique angle, helping to highlight tiny bumps and depressions in the surface. Together, these photographs help reveal the minute traces of ink left on the pages after they were erased or the scratches left by a scribe’s quill. Computer algorithms then analyze and combine the images so the text on top can be separated from the words below.

      Over five years, the researchers gathered 30 terabytes of images from 74 palimpsests—totaling 6,800 pages. In some cases, the erased texts have increased the known vocabulary of a language by up to 50 percent, giving new hope to linguists trying to decipher them. One of the languages to reemerge from the parchments is Caucasian Albanian, which was spoken by a Christian kingdom in what is now modern day Azerbaijan. Almost all written records from the kingdom were lost in the 8th and 9th century when its churches were destroyed.

      There are two palimpsests here that have Caucasian Albanian text in the erased layer,” says Michael Phelps, the director of the Early Manuscripts Electronic Library and leader of the project. “They are the only two texts that survive in this language ... We were sitting with one of the scholars and he was adding to the language as we were processing the images. In real time he was saying ‘now we have the word for net’ and ‘now the word for fish.’

      Another dead language to be found in the palimpsests is one used by some of the earliest Christian communities in the Middle East. Known as Christian Palestinian Aramaic, it is a strange mix of Syriac and Greek that died out in the 13th century. Some of the earliest versions of the New Testament were written in this language. “This was an entire community of people who had a literature, art, and spirituality,” says Phelps. “Almost all of that has been lost, yet their cultural DNA exists in our culture today. These palimpsest texts are giving them a voice again and letting us learn about how they contributed to who we are today.

  • In blow to Iran, Egypt becomes surprise new player in Syria - Syria -

    A new and surprising player has recently entered the Syrian arena and has already contributed to establishing local cease-fires: Egypt received Saudi and Russian “permission” to conduct negotiations between the rebel militias and the regime, both in Ghouta al-Sharqiya (east of Damascus) and the northern neighborhoods in the city of Homs. In both cases, it managed to get a cease-fire deal signed – in the former on July 22, in the latter in early August.
    Both areas are part of the de-escalation zones on which Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed in May, in consultation with the United States. But this is the first time Egypt has played an active role in diplomatic negotiations between the warring parties that produced positive results.
    From Israel’s standpoint, Egypt’s involvement is important. Any country engaged in blocking Iran’s influence in Syria serves Israel’s interests. But that’s especially true when said country is Egypt, which is Israel’s partner in the war on terror in Sinai and an ally (together with Saudi Arabia and Jordan) with whom it sees eye to eye about both the Iranian threat and the danger of Syria disintegrating into cantons.
    Israel is also involved in discussions about the de-escalation zone in southern Syria that runs along Syria’s borders with both Israel and Jordan. Over the weekend, an Israeli delegation headed by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen began talks on the issue with senior U.S. officials in Washington, and a meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
    During these discussions, Israel will presumably push the superpowers to encourage Egypt’s involvement in Syria, thereby ensuring another Arab partner (alongside Jordan) that will be sympathetic to its interests.

    #Egypte #Syrie

  • A la recherche d’un refuge en Israël : questionnement sur les demandeurs d’asile venus d’Erythrée

    C’est à la lecture de ces mots, prononcés en mai 2012 par Miri Regev, ministre israélienne de la culture, que j’ai décidé d’effectuer un travail de recherche sur la situation des demandeurs d’asile africains en Israël, au sein du Centre de Recherche Français à Jérusalem (CRFJ) durant l’été 2015. En raison de ma formation académique très centrée sur les droits de l’homme, cette expression m’a choquée au premier abord, puis elle m’a donné envie de réfléchir. En effet, Israël fait face depuis une décennie à une arrivée massive de migrants venus du Soudan et des pays de la Corne de l’Afrique, principalement d’Érythrée. Il ne s’agit pas d’une immigration appuyée par le pays d’accueil pour des raisons religieuses comme cela avait pu être le cas dans les années 1980 avec les juifs éthiopiens. En effet, les opérations « Moïse » et « Salomon »[2] menées par Israël et les Etats-Unis pour les sauver de la grande famine touchant à cette époque le pays, ont été grandement motivées par des raisons religieuses et démographiques. Il s’agissait d’augmenter le nombre de juifs présents sur le territoire israélien. Ces deux « sauvetages en masse » conduiront ensuite 6 000 Ethiopiens à accomplir leur alya[3], mettant pratiquement fin à l’existence de la communauté juive d’Éthiopie, vieille de 3 000 ans.
    #Israël #migrations #réfugiés #réfugiés_érythréens #asile #Erythrée #Holot #détention_administrative #rétention
    via @ville_en

  • Apple aims to get an iPad in the hands of every hospital patient
    Apple has made great strides in health in the last few years and if it gets its way, there will be an iPad in the hands of every hospital patient.

    It’s already started with a smattering of hospitals around the U.S. including Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego, MetroSouth Medical Center in Chicago and about a year ago at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.
    #gafa #santé

  • Crossing the Canal: why #Egypt faces a creeping #insurgency #COIN #Égypte #ISIL

    The Islamic State affiliate Wilayat Sinai has proved to be a determined enemy that is increasingly capable of attacking targets within mainland Egypt. This is despite the fact that in 2013 the Egyptian government launched its largest ongoing military operation in the Sinai since the 1973 war with Israel, against the group. Rather than defeating or even weakening Wilayat Sinai, however, many of the tactics being employed by the Egyptian government risks ensuring that organizations like Wilayat Sinai and more moderate militant groups are able to continue to expand their operations within Egypt.

    Heavy-handed tactics fanning the flames of insurgency... We’ve seen that movie before.

  • ‘Last Secret’ of 1967 War: Israel’s Doomsday Plan for Nuclear Display
    The New York Times - By WILLIAM J. BROAD and DAVID E. SANGER - JUNE 3, 2017

    On the eve of the Arab-Israeli war, 50 years ago this week, Israeli officials raced to assemble an atomic device and developed a plan to detonate it atop a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula as a warning to Egyptian and other Arab forces, according to an interview with a key organizer of the effort that will be published Monday.

    The secret contingency plan, called a “doomsday operation” by Itzhak Yaakov, the retired brigadier general who described it in the interview, would have been invoked if Israel feared it was going to lose the 1967 conflict. The demonstration blast, Israeli officials believed, would intimidate Egypt and surrounding Arab states — Syria, Iraq and Jordan — into backing off.

    Israel won the war so quickly that the atomic device was never moved to Sinai. But Mr. Yaakov’s account, which sheds new light on a clash that shaped the contours of the modern Middle East conflict, reveals Israel’s early consideration of how it might use its nuclear arsenal to preserve itself.

    “It’s the last secret of the 1967 war,” said Avner Cohen, a leading scholar of Israel’s nuclear history who conducted many interviews with the retired general.
    Continue reading the main story

    Mr. Yaakov, who oversaw weapons development for the Israeli military, detailed the plan to Dr. Cohen in 1999 and 2000, years before he died in 2013 at age 87.

    “Look, it was so natural,” said Mr. Yaakov, according to a transcription of a taped interview. “You’ve got an enemy, and he says he’s going to throw you to the sea. You believe him.”

    “How can you stop him?” he asked. “You scare him. If you’ve got something you can scare him with, you scare him.”

    Israel has never acknowledged the existence of its nuclear arsenal, in an effort to preserve “nuclear ambiguity” and forestall periodic calls for a nuclear-free Middle East. In 2001, Mr. Yaakov was arrested, at age 75, on charges that he had imperiled the country’s security by talking about the nuclear program to an Israeli reporter, whose work was censored. At various moments, American officials, including former President Jimmy Carter long after he left office, have acknowledged the existence of the Israeli program, though they have never given details.

    A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington said the Israeli government would not comment on Mr. Yaakov’s role.

    If the Israeli leadership had detonated the atomic device, it would have been the first nuclear explosion used for military purposes since the United States’ attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 22 years earlier.

    The plan had a precedent: The United States considered the same thing during the Manhattan Project, as the program’s scientists hotly debated whether to set off a blast near Japan in an effort to scare Emperor Hirohito into a quick surrender. The military vetoed the idea, convinced that it would not be enough to end the war.

    According to Mr. Yaakov, the Israeli plan was code-named Shimshon, or Samson, after the biblical hero of immense strength. Israel’s nuclear deterrence strategy has long been called the “Samson option” because Samson brought down the roof of a Philistine temple, killing his enemies and himself. Mr. Yaakov said he feared that if Israel, as a last resort, went ahead with the demonstration nuclear blast in Egyptian territory, it could have killed him and his commando team.

    Dr. Cohen, a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California and the author of “Israel and the Bomb” and “The Worst-Kept Secret,” described the idea behind the atomic demonstration as giving “the prime minister an ultimate option if everything else failed.” Dr. Cohen, who was born in Israel and educated in part in the United States, has pushed the frontiers of public discourse on a fiercely hidden subject: how Israel became an unacknowledged nuclear power in the 1960s.

    On Monday, the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington — where Dr. Cohen is a global fellow — is releasing on a special website a series of documents related to the atomic plan. The project maintains a digital archive of his work known as the Avner Cohen Collection. (President Trump’s proposed budget calls for the elimination of all federal funding for the center, which Congress created as a living memorial to Wilson.)

    It has long been known that Israel, fearful for its existence, rushed to complete its first atomic device on the eve of the Arab-Israeli war. But the planned demonstration remained secret in a country where it is taboo to discuss even half-century-old nuclear plans, and where fears persist that Iran will eventually obtain a nuclear weapon, despite its deal with world powers.

    Shimon Peres, the former Israeli president and prime minister who died last year, hinted at the plan’s existence in his memoirs. He referred to an unnamed proposal that “would have deterred the Arabs and prevented the war.”(...)