Maryland Blogger Alliance

Alliance FAQs

Latest MBA Posts

October 10, 2004

The face of peace in the Middle East

Egypt, with which Israel has a peace treaty, acted in a way that can only be described as barbaric. Here is what the NY Times delicately refers to as "bureaucratic and practical obstacles" following the bombing at Taba:

There were many reports of bureaucratic and practical obstacles to rescue efforts. Kobi Zuza, an ambulance driver from Israel, was at the Taba Hilton two hours after the blast, around midnight. It took 90 minutes for the Egyptians to let him in, he said. "When I got to the hotel, the situation of the dead was shocking,'' he said. "There were bodies and bodies without legs and body parts floating in the swimming pool.''
Inside, he said, people were trapped and crushed by the collapsing wall, with an engine from the truck bomb burning in the lobby. "There was a woman trapped, and I couldn't get to her,'' he said, looking off into the bright desert sun. "We were afraid to pull her out because everything would have collapsed.''
On the way back to the hospital, Mr. Zuza said, the Egyptian border guards insisted on having the passports of the wounded. "People were bleeding and screaming in the ambulance, shouting that their documents were still in the hotel - and the guards then gave them forms to fill out,'' he said angrily.
Doron Kotler, an ambulance coordinator, said Israelis were not allowed to cross to reach Ras al-Sultan or Nuweiba until 4 a.m.
Shimon Romach, the Israeli fire and rescue commissioner, said his men had had to spend 20 minutes pushing their way through the border to get to the Taba Hilton and begin to extinguish the fire. "Egyptians were helping, but there was no professional Egyptian firefighters still,'' he said.
If this is the way Israelis are treated by a "peace partner," it really makes one wonder what the point is.

UPDATE (10/10): Apparently the Israelis are more forgiving than I am. I suppose that's a good thing. There's at least a possibility they know more about things than I do.

There is increasing cooperation between Israeli and Egyptian investigators probing the attacks, Naveh said.

Col. Gideon Bar-On, commander of the National Search and Rescue Unit, said Sunday afternoon that his team did not find any survivors in the wreckage. Bar-On said there were no more bodies in the rubble of the Taba Hilton. "This was a tragic event, but the one ray of light in this whole thing was the way our relationship with the Egyptians improved. The situation of life and death did its job, and the cooperation improved," Bar-On said.

Egyptian and Israeli rescuers worked side by side searching for bodies in a collapsed section of the hotel where ten floors plummeted and condensed into just four floors.